Montana Public Radio

Kay Erickson

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.

Kay is also a writer for Yellowstone Valley Woman’s Magazine.

A PCR testing station at Montana State University
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Spring semester begins this week for students in the Montana University System. Asymptomatic students living in campus residential halls will be able to be tested for COVID-19.

COVID-19 testing for students without symptoms will take place over the two weeks of the start of the spring semester for those campuses with substantial residence hall populations.

Cooler temperatures and snow Tuesday helped firefighters to improve containment lines and extinguish hot spots on the 4,900 acre Yogo Fire burning in the Little Belt Mountains. The fire is now 30 percent contained.

Firefighters are preparing for another day of strong winds with gusts up to 50 miles an hour. But the arrival of snow is expected to help extinguish spot fires.

New wildfires started in Montana this weekend, pushed by unseasonably warm temperatures for October and strong, gusty winds.

Fire crews battling the nearly 5 square mile Yogo Fire burning in the Little Belt Mountains in central Montana faced challenges with the weather Tuesday. The region is under a red flag warning until 9 tonight with expected low humidity, dry fuels and strong winds with gusts up to 35 mph possible.

Firefighters are working to secure containment lines around the 20,000 acre Gass Flats Fire, burning in grass, brush and timber 15 miles southeast of Custer in Rosebud County. The fire exploded overnight, driven by winds.

Multiple air tankers and helicopters were working with 225 personnel to get this lightning-caused fire contained before a red flag warning Saturday could create more wind-driven runs.

Firefighters are battling two large wildfires amid red flag conditions in southeast Montana Thursday.

The nearly 600 acre Gass Flats Fire and the 600-800 acre Tolluck Fire are burning within two miles of each other southeast of Custer in southeast Montana. The two fires are separated by steep and rough terrain.

Firefighters are racing to control multiple lightning caused wildfires in southcentral and southeast Montana before gusty winds and warm temperatures are expected to descend on the region tomorrow Thursday.

Fires west of the Divide were mostly quiet today, with cooler temperatures and precipitation helping to keep them in check.

Firefighters are responding to two new fire starts visible along Highway 200 east of Paradise. Sanders County officials say firefighters have kept the fires under a half-acre each. Crews from around the area are on scene.

Cloudy skies, wetting rains and significantly cooler weather had a calming effect today on fires burning in Montana and central Idaho.

Smoke from a massive wildfire in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is visible across a large swath of southwest Montana.

The Bear Creek Fire, just across the Montana border near Salmon, Idaho, exploded overnight to more than 1,500 acres, fueled by low humidity and plentiful dry timber and brush.