MTPR

drought

Smoke from the Highway 200 Complex, September 4, 2017.
Inciweb

Governor Steve Bullock issued a statement on the fires to the media Monday.

"We are facing a very challenging and unprecedented fire season in Montana and throughout the West."

Yellowstone bison.
Yellowstone National Park - Flickr (PD)

More than half of Montana is currently in the grips of a severe drought, according to the latest numbers released by the U.S. Drought Monitor Thursday. And, as pastures shrivel up in the heat, ranchers are trucking in bales of hay and selling their cattle early.

But there’s another big, horned animal out there on the range. Bison.

This is the worst fire season Montana has seen in years. The state is spending about $1.5 million dollars a day battling the blazes and meteorologists say they’re being fueled by something called a flash drought. 

Rising Temperatures, Drought Conditions Usher In Fire Season In Montana
U.S. Drought Monitor

Fire season is off to a slow start this year, but state officials say drought conditions in eastern Montana and rising temperatures across the state could change that.

Parts of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota are experiencing severe or extreme drought.
NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land in the Dakotas and Montana in response to drought.

Perdue says that without alternative forage options, ranchers could be devastated economically. The emergency grazing is authorized to begin immediately, and extends through Sept. 30 unless conditions improve.

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