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climate change

West Fork firefighter serving as a lookout for Hotshot crews working below on the Nelson Creek fire.
Inciweb

Both state and federal governments have spent a combined $378 million this year battling blazes.

This was the most expensive fire season in Montana since at least 1999, when adjusted for inflation. Montanans may need to prepare for similar wildfire seasons in the future. 

Gianforte: To Ease Wildfires, Cut Down More Trees

Sep 18, 2017
Rice Ridge Fire activity in steep terrain.
Inciweb

Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte gave a keynote address to the Montana Association of Counties today.

It was the second stop in his “forest jobs tour,” and the congressman told county commissioners the best way to stop wildfires is to cut down more trees.

West Fork firefighter serving as a lookout for Hotshot crews working below on the Nelson Creek fire.
Inciweb

On the Senate floor Wednesday, both of Montana's senators gave 10-minute speeches about wildfires in Montana.

"Climate change is real, and we can't continue to sit on the sidelines," Democratic Senator Jon Tester said.

Republican Senator Steve Daines focused on, "The mis-management of our federal forests, and these radical environmentalists."

Both Daines and Tester talked about Montana's fires in the context of the nation's attention being primarily on hurricanes at the moment.

From left to right, Rep. Greg Gianforte, Sen. Steve Daines, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during a visit to the Lolo Peak Fire operations center August 24, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Two extraordinary things happened at the incident command post for the Lolo Peak Fire Thursday. One, it rained a little. The National Weather Service said .01 inches of precipitation came down mid-day. Two, a pair of cabinet secretaries, a U.S. Senator, and Montana’s congressman visited.

Faced with declining enrollment and a budget deficit, the University of Montana is offering early retirement buyouts to some faculty members. Well-known, climate science Professor Steve Running accepted the offer and is set to retire.

Running was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change team, which was collectively awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its broad report on the connection between human activities and global warming. Running was a lead author for one of the chapters in the IPCC report. He's also on the NASA Advisory Council Science Committee and has taught at the University of Montana for 38 years.

MTPR’s Katie Riordan spoke with Running about his decision to retire and his future plans.

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