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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Gianforte says state, federal partnership will expand Kootenai National Forest fire mitigation work

Gov. Greg Gianforte Wednesday announced that in the coming years state foresters will work on more projects aimed at reducing wildfire risk near homes in the Kootenai National Forest.

Under what’s known as Good Neighbor Authority, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation can carry out logging, thinning and other projects on U.S. Forest Service Land.

Gianforte says a new expanded agreement with the Kootenai National Forest aims to work on 10,000 acres annually for the next 10 years. He says those projects would help protect homes near Forest Service land from wildfire risk.

If that goal is reached it would be a significant increase in state foresters work on federal land. The DNRC managed roughly 1,500 acres of projects on the Kootenai National Forest last year and the agency worked on nearly 7,800 acres statewide.

Fireline probes the causes and consequences of the increasingly devastating wildfires burning in the U.S. It taps into the experience of firefighters, tribal land managers, climate scientists and more to understand how we got here and where we're going.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.