Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

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

Negotiating teams for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the State of Montana, and the United States have completed a revised draft of a proposed water right compact.

However, a copy of the draft is not yet publicly available.

A Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation press release says: "For copies of the public review draft of the Revised Compact and associated documents please check the RWRCC website during the week of January 5, 2015"

Danny Dauterive

A large fire that ignited yesterday in Missoula's Miller Creek drainage no longer presents a threat to Northwestern Energy high voltage power lines, communication towers on Dean Stone Mountain or local homes.

An overheated chainsaw muffler sparked the Lost Mine Loop fire. Miller Creek Road remains closed to all but fire crews and local traffic.The fire is now estimated to encompass 153 acres and is 75 percent contained.

Montana DNRC

Investigators say an overheated chainsaw side muffler ignited a wildfire that started yesterday afternoon in Missoula's Miller Creek drainage.

That fire now has a name - The Lost Mine Loop fire. It started Sunday afternoon around 2:00.  A flight survey will arrive today to determine the size of the fire, which is estimated to be greater than 60 acres.

In this evening's feature interview with Edward O'Brien, Michael Downey with Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation explains why it's taken over 20 years to update Montana's water plan:

The existing Montana State Water Plan is long overdue for an update.

The existing plan guides the conservation and management of Montana's water resources.

It is currently over 20 years old and fails to address contemporary issues and challenges faced by water users today.

Josh Burnham (CC-BY)

The soaking rain that fell in parts of Western Montana dramatically cooled temperatures yesterday and came as welcome respite from the very hot and dry conditions of the past few weeks.

Fire officials, however, caution the rain by no means qualifies as a "season-ending" event.
       Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation's Jordan Koppen says the rain storm that parked over the Missoula valley yesterday was great to see:
      

Dan Boyce

A Democratic state representative believes a new water plan being developed by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) may provide a vehicle for inserting more climate science into state policy.

On Tuesday, members of the legislature’s Water Policy Interim Committee heard presentations from several prominent state climate scientists on the future of agricultural water use. These addressed the changing of Montana’s mountain snowpack, key stresses on the state’s water sources, and projections of future water supply.

Montana DNRC

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has launched an initiative to update the state's water plan.

Sally Mauk

Western Montana's fire danger is back to a "low" rating, there's been plenty of rain recently - even some high-elevation snow in western Montana. The 2013 fire season is essentially behind us.

C. G. P. Grey/Flickr

State wildfire experts are saying heavy spring rain in Eastern Montana is lowering the risk for an extreme fire season across much of the state.

Leaders of state and federal agencies dealing with wildfire suppression briefed Governor Steve Bullock this week.

But Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce tells us those officials are still expecting much more severe conditions in Southwest Montana