Posted: Aug 10, 2012 6:31 PM by David Jay
COLSTRIP, MT - Fire crews are now beginning the mop up process on the Rosebud Complex of fires northeast of Lame Deer.
One ranch family worked to save homes on a ranch south of Colstrip, but still lost much of its ranch to the fire on August 7 & 8.
The Broaduses, with help from friends, fought two Rosebud Complex fires...on their 20-thousand acre ranch.
"Scary," said Hugh Broadus. "You know you'd be going along thinking you're good, and it's big old rough country and you're down and get up on a ridge, And you've got fire all around you."
"Can't even describe it," said Jo Broadus, who helped fight the fire. "It is shear panic."
"It's scary," said Jarrod Broadus, who was one of nine fighting the fire on the Broadus Ranch. "That would be the best way to put it is it's just scary."
They lost fencing and about 15,000 acres of pasture land and that will keep them from ranching next year.
"I would liken it to a death," said Evelyn Broadus. "Because it certainly has been a death to part of our way of life."
The Broaduses lost a small cabin use for hunters and family outings.
"We're going to clean it up," Jarrod Broadus said. "We're going to rebuild it. there's parts of this that smart really bad. We had a lot of good times here."
And they say with some help they could have kept the cabins and the land from burning.
"Communication just didn't happen," Hugh Broadus said. "I'm not going to blame anybody. We're all at fault."
DNRC Agency Line officer Dwayne Andrews says the procedure is for the county to call asking for help. The DNRC then determines if aircraft or other resources are necessary.
Andrews also says Rosebud County needed to manage six fires, including the very large Chalky fire.
They lost the ranching business for a year, but remain optimistic.
"It's just going to take time, moisture patience," Jarrod Broadus said.
"The important thing is that you're family's safe," Evelyn Broadus said. "And that you have your home."
"We didn't lose any animals," said Jo Broadus. "We didn't lose anybody. We kept all of our possessions and thank God for that."
"This is just a bump in the road.," said Hugh Broadus. "We'll just get going."
Hugh Broadus says it may take about half a million dollars to repair all the fencing on the property.
The family does not plan to put cattle back on the land for at least a year.. While the grass grows back.
And now they'll move on and continue a family ranching tradition that goes back to the 1870's.