MTPR

Montana Wildfire News

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.

Balsamroot covers a hillside in Yellowstone National Park.
Josh Burnham

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — About 1 acre of land burned in Yellowstone National Park during the 2017 fire season, a number much lower than the 63,000 acres (25,500 hectares) burned in the park a year ago.

The Cody Enterprise reported Wednesday that 2016's total was the most land singed in a single season since 1988, when 793,880 of the Park's 2.2 million acres caught fire.

Montana Fire Suppression Costs.
Montana Legislative Fiscal Division

A new state report says 2017 was likely the the most expensive fire season in Montana history.

That report by state legislative analysts said the state spent $74 million on fire suppression. The next closest year was 2012, when the state spent less than $60 million.

Pages