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Last modified: Wednesday, June 27, 2012

IU geology students diverted from Montana wildfires

June 27, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University students taking summer field work classes in the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Geological Sciences are being diverted away from their planned arrival at the IU Judson Mead Geologic Field Station in Cardwell, Mont., as a result of forest fires in the nearby Tobacco Root Mountains.

Indiana University Seal

The Pony Fire, which refers to the forest fire's proximity to the town of Pony, Mont., is in the hills about 1.5 miles to the east of the field station. The fire has caused an evacuation order in a wide vicinity, and it is burning timber and sage over about 4,800 acres of private land, Bureau of Land Management property and the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest.

The 23 Forest Service students currently at the field station have already been evacuated from the site. Students enrolled in IU's G429 class (Field Geology in the Rocky Mountains) and G329 class (Field Experience in Environmental Science), who are scheduled to arrive in the area June 30, will not enter the camp until it is deemed safe. Department of Geological Sciences faculty and staff on site at the field station will make alternate arrangements for those students if necessary.

The field station is currently being used to house firefighters, equipment and water. All roads leading into the field station have been closed to all but emergency personnel and will not be re-opened to the public or others until firefighters deem it safe.

IU has owned the 60-acre field station property in southwest Montana since 1949 and has continuously operated summer field courses for students from IU and partner universities from around the country since that time. In addition to using the field station as a base for courses, it and the surrounding region have been home to a wide range of geoscience and environmental science research projects by students and professionals.