MTPR

wildfire

Fire danger sign.
Jonathan Thorne (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Bitterroot National Forest is changing its fire danger level from ‘Low’ to ‘Moderate’ starting Wednesday, June 27.

The shift to ‘moderate’ means that wildfires can now be expected to start from most accidental causes. In addition to lightning, that includes human causes like smoldering campfires left unattended.

Counties With The Most Homes Built In WIldfire Hazard Areas, 1990-2016.
Headwaters Economics

A new study says the number of homes constructed in areas with high wildfire risks has doubled in western Montana since 1990, outpacing development rates in areas with low fire hazards.

How Black-Backed Woodpeckers Thrive After Wildfires

Jun 18, 2018
Female black-backed woodpecker.
Mike Laycock, USFWS (PD)

Most of you have probably seen or heard woodpeckers. Whether attracting them to your backyard with suet feeders, or hearing them drill on the side of your house, you have probably noticed their large pointed beak and ability to climb tree trunks.

But besides downy and hairy woodpeckers, which are seen often in Montana, we also have some types of woodpeckers that live in some of the most unique habitats and do some of the most peculiar things of any animal in the Rocky Mountains.

Firefighters and fire truck.
BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

Montana has just over $4 million in its firefighting reserve fund at the start of what’s expected to be ripe conditions for a substantial fire season. That means the state is significantly short of having the cash on hand needed cover the costs of even an average season. 

But Governor Steve Bullock says fire suppression won’t be limited this season, despite depleted funding reserves.

'Field Notes:' The Fruits Of Fire

Jun 10, 2018
 A forested area 5 years after a fire.
NPS - Stephanie Metzler (PD)

Have you ever walked around in a recently burned forest? One of those areas where perhaps last summer you saw flames leaping out or smoke billowing? If not, I urge you to go out and take a look at this unique environment. I had never spent any time in a burned forest until a few years ago. I was immediately impressed with the beauty and abundant life I found in this transformed forest.

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