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

Montana fire restrictions grow; Idaho's Moose Fire shows extreme behavior

A firefighter sprays a hot spot from the Moose Fire, burning in central Idaho near the Montana border.
Mike McMillan
A firefighter sprays a hot spot from the Moose Fire, burning in central Idaho near the Montana border.

Some Montana counties are limiting residents’ fire activity in light of wildfire risk and hot, dry weather.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks says Big Horn, Musselshell and Treasure Counties join Yellowstone County in passing Stage-1 restrictions, which apply to building fires and smoking outside. Stage 2 restrictions — which aren’t in effect — extend to activities like welding or setting off fireworks.

Bureau of Land Management Montana-Dakotas fire manager Aaron Thompson says agencies are trying to cut down on the number of human-caused fires.

“And so if we can do that, that will reduce the amount of new starts that we get until lightening occurs, and we have not seen as much lightning this year as last.”

The Moose Fire is showing extreme fire behavior

The Moose Fire burning near the Montana-Idaho border north of Salmon is more than 43,000 acres in size and 15% contained. Fire officials with the Salmon-Challis National Forest say it’s showing extreme behavior that could spread flames across the Highway 93 corridor this weekend.

The fire in Idaho is threatening homes, energy infrastructure, mining operations and Salmon’s municipal water supply.

There’s a red flag warning for warm temperatures and strong winds in the region until 10 p.m.

The fire may send smoke into southwest Montana through the weekend.

Kayla Desroches reports for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed in the city for college, where she hosted a radio show that featured serialized dramas like the Shadow and Suspense. In her pathway to full employment, she interned at WNYC in New York City and KTOO in Juneau, Alaska. She then spent a few years on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where she transitioned from reporter to news director before moving to Montana.
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