Logger rebuilds after equipment, business loss in Copper King Fire


THOMPSON FALLS, Mont. - It's almost been a year since the Copper King Fire destroyed more than 29,000 acres of private, state and national forest land. NBC Montana talked to logger Mike Newton last year when his logging equipment succumbed to the fire. Newton estimates the fire did around $350,000 worth of damages. "When I raced down here early in the morning and I came around the corner, I could see the fire," Newton said. "I assumed I was out of business because I knew none of the machines could have survived." Three of Newton's six machines survived. Now a year later, Newton has replaced all of his damaged equipment. Newton says the fire was not as devastating for his business as he initially believed. He says just eight days after his equipment burned, he was out logging with the other materials. The Copper King Fire started last summer on July 31 and burned across the Thompson River drainage five miles east of Thompson Falls. It took firefighters around three months to put out the flames. The fire was contained on October 14 and later controlled on November 28. Newton says with all his equipment replaced, he's ready for this summer's logging season. "To be back at the position that we're at right now, no, I didn't think we'd be back where we're at," Newton said. "I figured we'd still be struggling." He says his business is great and ready for any obstacle life throws. "I'm not the only one who has gone through a tough time, we all have to go through them once in a while," he said. "You just have to keep your head up and keep going."