A year has passed since lightning struck a tree, igniting a wildfire in the Bacon Rind area of the Custer-Gallatin National Forest near Big Sky.
Crews worked to manage the fire, not put it out, for three months as it burned more than 5,000 acres.
“We have to make the call whether we are going to immediately suppress that fire or manage that fire,” says Jeff Shanafelt, Custer-Gallatin National Forest west zone fire management officer.
When you find yourself looking at a fire this large, this destructive, it was a tough call, indeed, including for firefighting crews with the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, Yellowstone National Park, and Gallatin County working together.
“That first day, we flew in a crew,” Shanafelt says. “They got out on the ground and got us a good size up on the fire, told us what it was burning in.”
With big flames come big scars, still clearly visible to this day.