Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

Fireworks Bans Spread Across Western Montana

Jul 2, 2015

Fireworks bans are spreading across western Montana in the face of hot, dry weather, and high fire danger.

The City of Whitefish has canceled its 4th of July public fireworks display, citing a fire weather watch for Saturday, issued by the National Weather Service. The Weather Service says to expect high temperatures, low humidifies and gusty winds from the Flathead Valley, through Missoula to south of Dillon. Communities included in the fire weather watch include Eureka, Libby, Polson, Seeley Lake, Hamilton and Butte.

The Federal Highway Trust Fund helps pay for road construction and repairs.

Highway funding will likely be near the top of the Congressional agenda when business resumes after the holiday break. That's because the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money late this month or early next.

Rep. Ryan Zinke. File photo.
Eric Whitney

Montana's Representative in the U.S. House says a wildfire burning near Glacier National Park shows why comprehensive forest management reform is needed. Republican Ryan Zinke yesterday visited with crews fighting the 85-acre Glacier Rim Fire.

Bonnie Clincher Red Elk.
Courtesy Fort Peck Journal

One of Montana’s most prominent Native American reporters has passed away.

Public Domain

A panel of prominent scientists are meeting in Bozeman to talk about controlling brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone area, It’s the start of a year-long process to evaluate options for trying to control the disease.

Sen. Daines at Chessman Reservoir with federal, state and local forest officials.
Steve Jess

Steve Jess is on the road, a few miles south of Helena, trailing a convoy carrying Senator Steve Daines and an assortment of local officials. They travel down about 20 miles of dirt road and the occasional cattle guard to a site just yards from the Chessman reservoir, where many of the surrounding hills bear the corpses of lodgepole pines killed by the mountain pine beetle.

Anthony J. Preite retires as the USDA's state director of rural development.
Courtesy photo

A man who’s had a big role in growing Montana’s economy for nearly 50 years is stepping down. Anthony Preite has been involved in rural economic development here since 1968, and last week he retired as state director of rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sen. Daines and other officials on a tour of the Tenmile watershed.
Steve Jess

Montana Senator Steve Daines toured a beetle-infested area of the Helena National Forest Tuesday, and praised a joint federal-state effort to reduce fire danger. 

Whitefish Lake. 75% of the municipal water supply for Whitefish comes from Haskill Basin. In the summer, when that supply runs low, the city pumps and treats water from Whitefish Lake.
Katrin Frye

Starting July 1, Whitefish's resort tax will increase 1 percent as a result of a vote of city taxpayers last April. Corin Cates-Carney spoke with the town’s Mayor about the need for the tax bump.

File photo of fire fighters building fire line.
BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

At least seven new lighting-caused fires on the Bitterroot National Forest are small and manageable thanks to quick initial attack by fire crews.

Forest spokesman Tod McKay says thunderstorms produced 175 confirmed lighting strikes in the Bitterroot and Missoula areas Monday night.

Flickr user Michael Cramer (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Counties across western Montana today imposed Stage One fire restrictions effective this Friday morning at 12:01 a.m.

The restrictions come along with a ban on fireworks on all public and private land in Missoula, Ravalli, and Lake, and Lincoln counties. Flathead County commissioners will vote Thursday on a county-wide fireworks ban.

Fire Danger 'Extreme' In Missoula County

Jun 30, 2015
Stage 2 Fire restrictions go into effect across northwestern Montana Thursday at 1:00 a.m.
Josh Burnham

Officials have bumped the fire danger rating to "extreme" in Missoula County following a record-breaking heat wave and forecasts calling for hot, dry conditions to continue through the holiday weekend.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox

Montana and twelve other states sued the federal government Monday to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from enacting a new rule extending the Clean Water Act to small streams and wetlands.

State Attorney General Tim Fox says the Obama administration went too far by asserting control over waterways that belong to the states.

Fire Near Glacier Park Has Burned 80 Acres

Jun 29, 2015
North Fork of the Flathead River
U.S. Forest Service

A human-caused fire that started over the weekend just outside Glacier National Park has burned 80 acres and started eight spot fires inside the Park. Officials are calling the Glacier Rim Fire 25% contained.

Critics of the Clean Power Plan worry about its impacts on coal development and jobs.

Montana coal advocates are hailing the Supreme Court's ruling against the Obama administration's attempt to limit toxic emissions from power plants.

The justices ruled the Environmental Protection Agency failed to adequately consider costs when regulating emissions from coal and oil-fired plants.

Steve Jess

Montana’s Republican Party has a new leader. Delegates at the party’s convention over the weekend rejected the most conservative candidate, settling on an experienced lawmaker and party insider.

Slideshow: Great Burn Proposed Wilderness Area

Jun 29, 2015
Eric Whitney

On Sunday the Montana Wilderness Association, Great Burn Study Group and EcoFlight offered Missoula journalists an hour-long flyover of the Great Burn Proposed Wilderness Area straddling the Montana-Idaho border west and north of Missoula.

BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

Montana fire officials are urging people to be extra careful with fire this weekend and over Fourth of July.

Josh Burnham

Bozeman's Stacey Haugland never thought she'd live to see the day when gay marriage would be legalized nationwide. The Supreme Court today guaranteed that right.

Flathead Lake Biological Station research boat, Jessie-B.
Courtesy Flathead Lake Biological Station

Researchers at the Flathead Lake Biological Station are studying how climate change may affect the lake’s chemistry and temperature. Corin Cates-Carney reports from a research presentation at the station Thursday night.

The bullet point is Flathead Lake is an extremely complex body of water; and it’s changing.

courtesy Montana Republican Party

This weekend, the Montana Republican party will choose its leader, and chart the course for its future. Delegates from all over the state are meeting today and tomorrow in Helena for their annual convention.

U.S. Supreme Court
Flickr user: Marty Stone (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for people to buy health insurance means nothing really changes in Montana’s health insurance market. And that’s pretty big news.

Heat Safety Checklist

Jun 25, 2015
Extreme heat safety checklist
National Weather Service, Missoula Montana

Historic high temperatures are forecast across western Montana for this weekend and into next week. Here are some tips for staying safe in extreme heat.

Elsie Arntzen, a Republican from Billings and former teacher, is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Montana Legislature

Two Montana teachers want to be the state’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Term limiting prevents current Superintendent, Democrat Denise Juneau, from running again. Republican state lawmaker Elsie Arntzen recently filed paperwork to replace her.

Bighorn sheep

Hunters have less than a week to throw their name in the hat to win the chance for a dream hunt. Corin Cates-Carney reports on Montana’s SuperTag lottery deadline.

William Marcus

Budget officials from the Montana Governor’s office faced an angry panel of state lawmakers Wednesday morning. Members of the Legislative Audit Committee demanded to know why a crucial report on the state’s finances was issued in May instead of March, but also contained multiple mistakes, with the potential to cost taxpayers money.

The Supreme Court will soon rule on whether states can ban same-sex marriage. Their decision could come as early as Thursday the 25th. This graphic shows how three possible outcomes would affect the laws in Montana and across the country.

Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial says Montanan’s culture of drinking is a learned behavior.
Corin Cates-Carney

Flathead County ranks among the highest in Montana in traffic deaths, behind Yellowstone County and ahead of Missoula County.

One hundred eighty four people died on Flathead County roads between 2004 and 2013.

National Weather Service, Missoula

The National Weather Service warns an intense and prolonged heat wave will bring dangerously hot temperatures to western Montana this weekend.

"I am not hesitant to use the word 'historic' for this event," Weather Service meteorologist Dan Zumpf explained.

James St. Goddard announced his candidacy for Montana's lone House seat Tuesday at the state capitol.
Steve Jess

The 2016 election is more than 16 months away, but the race for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House already has its first candidate.

James St. Goddard, a former Blackfeet Tribal Council member, announced he’s running for Congress as a Democrat.