Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Alex Ross 

Work underway to raise funds for East Fork Fire


September 13, 2017

Havre Daily News/Floyd Brandt

Burned and partially burned trees stand in the Sucker Creek Drainage impacted by the East Fork Fire. Multiple efforts are underway to raise money to help with the cost of the fire and recovery from it. The last update said the fire, which started near the East Fork Reservoir Aug. 27 on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, is 85 percent contained at 21,896 acres.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to give the correct date of the Triple Dog Brewing Co. and Montana State University-Northern Collegiate Stockgrower’s fundraiser. The pint-night fundraiser and burger feed will be Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Three weeks after the East Fork Fire began, people in the area are finding ways, from selling shirts to holding events, to raise money for the fire relief effort.

The fire began Sunday Aug. 27 near the East Fork Reservoir on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation and spread beyond the reservation, affecting farmers, ranchers and other residents in and around the Bear Paw Mountains. Five cabins and five out buildings in Beaver Creek Park sustained damage.

As of 8:30 a.m. today, the East Fork Fire Incident Information page says the fire remains 85 percent contained at 21,896 acres. The page says the National Weather Service has forecast a cool, moist weather trend beginning Thursday evening. If forecasted rain arrives there could be localized flooding from the runoff of the burned area.

Former state legislator and retired rancher Bob Sivertsen has organized a public meeting for 7 p.m Thursday in Hensler Auditorium in Montana State University-Northern's Applied Technology Center to discuss the fire, issues that allowed the blaze to grow and solutions to ensure it does not happen again.

"We will be looking for ways to improve what appears to be a flawed system," he said. "That's the only good that can come from the East Fork Fire."

Throughout the area though, people and businesses are working to do their part to help area fire departments, with businesses such as Triple Dog Brewing Co. and Nalivika's Original Pizza Kitchen donating money from their sales to fire relief efforts.

Two accounts have been set up at Independence Bank that people can donate to, one for the Bear Paw Volunteer Fire Department and another the East Fork Fire Fund.

Denali Solomon of Independence Bank said people wishing to donate to either fund can bring their donation to the bank and give it to a teller. People should specify which of the two accounts they want their money to go toward.

Other local residents have used their creative talents to raise money. Alicia Burrington, a woman from Havre is selling #MontanaStrong decals online and Misty Denny of Havre said she and a friend were trying to come up with a way to help the fire relief effort and they decided to make and sell T-shirts.

"We couldn't offer our services any other way and just wanted to give thanks and offer financial support somehow," Denny said.

She said she began producing the shirts Monday night.

All proceeds from sales of the Montana Strong T-shirts will go to help volunteer fire departments who have been fighting the fire.    

The shirt is a picture of silhouette of several figures walking along rugged terrain within an outline of the state of Montana, with the words #MontanaStrong superimposed over it.

Denny said the image used on the shirt is a picture of Rocky Boy fire fighters a friend had taken.

The shirts are $20 and range in size from a child's small to an adult 6x. The shirts can be purchased through Denny's website at http://mypaisleypals.com/search?q=Montana+ strong.

The Montana State University-Northern Collegiate Stockgrowers and Triple Dog Brewing Co. will team up to host a pint-night fundraiser Tuesday, Sept. 19, for area fire departments as well as farmers and ranchers impacted by the fire.

Barry Francis, public relations chair for the Collegiate Stockgrowers, which also had members helping fight the fire and has been helping Bear Paw ranchers work to repair damage, said the event will start at 5 p.m and continue until the brewery closes.  

Triple Dog will donate $1 of every pint purchased to the efforts to help farmers and ranchers.

The Collegiate Stockgrowers have been helping area farmers and ranchers fight the fire, move livestock and repair fences

He said the stockgrowers, along with Scott Young of Norman's Ranch and Sportswear and other volunteers, will sell hamburgers at the event. 

Profits from the burger sales and a silent auction at the event will also go to firefighters as well as farmers and ranchers.

People willing to donate supplies to the Collegiate Stockgrowers can call Francis at 599-1891.

The Oxford Sports Bar on First Street will hold a Rock Paper Scissors Tournament Friday, Sept 22. For $5 people will play games of Rock Paper Scissors.

All funds will go to the Volunteer Fire Department Relief Fund.

Oxord owner William Devries said he and Alec McKay of Havre Distributors came up with the idea for the fundraiser.

"We had been kind of throwing it around for the past couple of weeks," Devries said.

Participants are encouraged to come in costumes, Devries said.

Prizes will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place finishers as well as  a prize for best costume.

Registration will start at 6 p.m. and the tournament will get underway at 8 p.m.


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