Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

Live and beetle killed trees in the Helena National Forest.
Steve Jess

State officials say the new kinds of forest management tools the Farm Bill gave them are good for both Montana’s forests and the state’s economy. But some environmentalists say those claims are dubious at best.

Mike DeGrosky is Montana's new Fire and Aviation Bureau Chief.
John Owens/BLM

The State of Montana has a new Fire and Aviation Bureau Chief. He was hired last month, and is keeping a close eye on this winter’s weather.

Distribution of Sage Grouse Habitat and sagebrush ecotypes in Montana.
FWP Information Services

State officials are working out the details of the landmark agreement to save the greater sage grouse without having to put the bird on the Endangered Species List.

This September the U.S. Department of Interior announced it wouldn’t put the bird on the list, because individual states had come up with their own plans to protect the bird and its habitat.

Update On The Fire Burning Near Clinton

Sep 28, 2015
Firefighters respond to a wildfire burning in the wildland-urban interface near Clinton, MT in 2015
Dave Dennis

A wildfire burning close to I-90 near Clinton has died down some since yesterday, according to Jordan Koppen, DNRC fire information officer. Koppen says a helicopter dropped water on the fire this morning, and the plan for today is to "put out hotspots and keep an eye on it."

State Forester Bob Harrington says Montana has had 347 wildfires on state land so far this year.  That’s about 30 percent more fires than a typical year, but the total area burned is less than half of the five-year average. 

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 21, 2015

Aug 21, 2015
Firefighter planning meeting on the Scotchman's Gulch Fire.
Inciweb

It was another active fire week in western Montana. Fires forced evacuations in Sanders County, closed part of Highway 2, and put the town of Essex on alert. Nowhere in western Montana escaped the choking smoke produced by dozens of fires burning in the state and in neighboring Idaho and Washington.

A helicopter on initial attack on the Burke Gulch fire this week, one of 40 lightning-caused wildfires crews have contained since Aug. 10.
Courtesy Cory Rennaker Bitterroot Helitack

Governor Steve Bullock sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service today saying he’s frustrated that Montana’s fleet of firefighting helicopters often can’t be used to attack fires on federal land.

Governor Declares Fire Emergency In Montana

Aug 16, 2015
MT DNRC

Citing active wildfires and extreme fire danger across the state, Governor Steve Bullock has issued an executive order declaring a fire emergency in Montana. “Montana is facing extreme fire conditions. This declaration will provide additional resources to the brave men and women fighting these fires,” Bullock said of the declaration. 

A lot of people know about the Berkeley Pit in Butte, but not many know about another significant pollution challenge in the Mining City. It’s called the Parrot Plume, and there’s controversy over whether it needs to be cleaned up, and if so, who would pay for it.

Without water, we perish. For 30 years, the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes and the state of Montana have disagreed about tribal water right claims. But this year the legislature approved a comprehensive water rights agreement. Melissa Hornbein was one of the lead attorneys in the negotiations, working for Montana DNRC and the Montana Reserved Water Rights Commission. Hornbein talks with Brian Kahn about the legal and emotional challenges of negotiating the Flathead water compact.

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