If you were driving in the area near Ravalli on Sunday afternoon, you likely noticed things were a bit, shall we say, "Smokey." More on that in a minute.

The smoke had to do with a grass fire caused by a rather unlikely source, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of Fire was able to act quickly before things got out of hand. Rural fire departments and the Division of Fire were able to get the grass fire put out.

It all got started when a small bear climbed a power pole northwest of Ravalli (Ravalli Hill) and was electrocuted. You would normally associate, say, squirrels for example, poking around in transformers and gnawing on things they shouldn't be, causing this type of damage, but not this time.

The electric jolt caused the bear to fall and the sparks flew, starting the fire.  A spokesman with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of Fire Dispatch confirmed this morning that, sadly, the bear did not survive. As he put it, "The poor little guy was fried pretty bad."

According to CSKT, the fire burned about two acres. This all happened on the 76th birthday of fire prevention icon Smokey Bear, who turned 76 on Sunday, August 9.