On 6 August 2000, as several fires converged in the
"That's a once-in-a-lifetime look there. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I've been doing this for 20 years and it ranks in the top three days of fire behavior I've seen."
The day was Aug. 6, the Sunday when several forest fires converged near Sula into a firestorm that overran 100,000 acres and destroyed
10 homes.Temperatures in the flame front were estimated at more than 800 degrees. Nevertheless, McColgan said, the wildlife appeared to be taking the crisis in stride, gathering near the East Fork of the Bitterroot River where it crosses under U.S. Highway 93.
"They know where to go, where their safe zones are," McColgan said. "A lot of wildlife did get driven down there to the river. There were some bighorn sheep there. A small deer was standing right underneath me, under the bridge."
McColgan snapped the photo with a Kodak DC280 digital camera. Since he was working as a Forest Service firefighter, the shot is public property and cannot be sold or used for commercial purposes