Tony Harwood lectures on Native American uses and approach to wildland fire at the first Wildland Fire in Western Montana lecture event in Kalispell, MT February 23, 2018.
Nicky Ouellet

Even with two feet of snow on the ground, homeowners and fire managers in the Flathead Valley are thinking about fire season. FireSafe Flathead kicked off a four-part lecture series about wildland fire in western Montana at Flathead Valley Community College Thursday night. MTPR's Nicky Ouellet brings us the highlights.

Turmoil Shakes Up Agency In Charge Of Vast US Lands

Feb 20, 2018
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Nicky Ouellet

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A year of upheaval at the U.S. Interior Department has seen dozens of senior staff members reassigned and key leadership positions left unfilled, rules considered burdensome to industry shelved, and a sweeping reorganization proposed for its 70,000 employees.

The evolving status quo at the agency responsible for more than 780,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) of public lands, mostly in the American West, has led to praise from energy and mining companies and Republicans, who welcomed the departure from perceived heavy-handed regulation under President Barack Obama.

The trail to Piper Creek falls within the bounds of the proposed Swan Forest Initiative’s conservation forest.
Nicky Ouellet

For more than half a decade, the Lake County Conservation District has been working on a proposal to transfer management of 60,000 acres from the Flathead National Forest to the state for the next 100 years.

The Flathead National Forest is hosting an open house on a proposed timber sale near Bigfork.
Flathead National Forest

The Flathead National Forest is hosting an open house on a proposed timber sale near Bigfork.

The open house for the Bug Creek Forest Health and Fuels Reduction Project happens February 6 at the Swan Lake Ranger Station in Bigfork. The agency will have specialists on hand to answer questions, it’s taking public comment on the proposal until February 16.

The Park Creek Fire north of Lincoln, summer 2017.

More than 700,000 acres of national forest land across Montana and Idaho burned this summer, and U.S. Forest Service officials are now deciding what to do with it. The agency this fall set up a post-fire incident management team to quickly analyze damage and plan next steps.

Those steps include salvage logging, a controversial process that Incident Commander Mike Elson says will cover about 5 percent of burned areas across the region.