MTPR

wildfire

Jean Loesch and her family live in Seeley Lake, Mont., which saw the longest and most intense smoke from Montana's wildfires this summer. Loesch has 10 children, adopted or in her foster care, and they are learning what it's like to have lingering respiratory problems.

Last summer, Loesch says, the smoke was so thick outside, the family couldn't see the trees across the street, so they stayed inside. It was still really hard to breathe.

"These guys were miserable," Loesch says. "I think each one of them ended up having to go to the doctor." Everyone needed inhalers.

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.

Half a year after a memorable fire season shrouded Montana in thick gray skies, burned more than a million acres and caused tens of millions of dollars in budget shortfalls, scientists at the University of Montana are saying Montanans should get used to it.

Few surviving trees remain in the changed landscape located in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area in Idaho.
Camille Stevens-Rumann

In the forests of the Rocky Mountains, fewer trees are growing back after recent wildfires because of climate change. That’s what a team of researchers discovered after studying seedling regeneration at 1,500 sites in five different states.

University of Montana fire ecology Professor Philip Higuera is a co-author of the study. He joins us now.

Glaicer Park's Logan Pass visitors center on a busy summer day.
Tom Westbrook (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Despite a smoke-filled summer, researchers from the University of Montana say that 2017 was actually a good year for the travel industry.

While almost 80 percent of businesses in northwestern Montana say they were affected by wildfires and smoke last summer, those same businesses raked in more than a billion dollars from out-of-state visitors.

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