MTPR

wildfire

Wildland Firefighters working on fire line on the West Fork Fish Creek Fire in 2015.
Inciweb

State lawmakers Monday took up a proposal by Governor Steve Bullock to increases fees on some property owners to fund fire protection in the state. It's part of the governor's package of legislation aimed at patching the $227 million hole in the state budget.

House Bill 4 proposes freeing up $13 million in the state's general fund by asking property tax payers to take on more of the cost for state firefighting preparedness. This bill would ask property owners in eastern Montana to pay fees that people in western parts of the state already pay.

Caption The US Forest Service has proposed several thinning projects this fall aimed at reducing fuels in dry pine forests like this in the Bitterroot National Forest.
Nora Saks

Montana lawmakers are scoring political points by blaming environmentalists for suing to shut down logging projects on public lands. But public lands logging is both feeding area sawmills and reducing wildfire risk. MTPR's Nora Saks reports on a couple of projects in the Bitterroot Valley.

The Southwestern Crown Collaborative visits a burn site from the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake.
Brittany Greeson, Crossing The Divide

Wildfires burned more than a million acres across Montana this year, making it one of the most expensive fire seasons since 1999. While the smoke has cleared, the debate over wildfires and forest management is ongoing. Some Montana lawmakers are blaming what they call "environmental extremists" who've managed to stop some logging. But ecologists say it's more complicated than that. In an effort to learn how to live with wildfires, the Southwestern Crown Collaborative is one group trying to find common ground.

A survey posted by Republican Senator Steve Daines asks Montanans what they believe contributes most to catastrophic wildfires: mismanagement of federal forests, or global warming.

David Parker teaches his students about scientific polling and surveying. He says this survey from Daines, and other like it from across the political spectrum, are skewed with bias. David Parker joins us now from Bozeman.

Ali Ulwelling from the Montana DNRC guides Whitefish-area homeowners through the process of assessing a home for fire preparedness.
Nicky Ouellet

At sunset, the forest west of Whitefish is more golden than green, the needles of western larches catching the last rays of sunlight. The glowing trees look like they’re on fire. Even now, with snow on the forecast, folks who live deep in this forest, like Ben Duvall, are still thinking about wildfire.

Duvall is the fire chief for Big Mountain Fire and Rescue, and last week, he hosted two-dozen neighbors, kids and dogs to talk about creating a fire adapted community; basically, making their neighborhood ready to withstand fire moving through it without much help from firefighters.

Pages