Montana Public Radio

Dan Hottle

Fire camp sunset on the Sunrise Fire 7/24/17
InciWeb

Wildland firefighters already follow a lengthy list of safety and wardrobe rules: the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has just made it a little longer.

Montana Conservation Corps workers
Montana Conservation Corps

Every summer, conservation crews cut a dent into the billion-dollar backlog of labor on public land in Montana. But the novel coronavirus means uncertainty and less work for the battalion of young adults working on trails and forests across the state.

 

A handful of Montana wildland firefighters are helping fight the historic bushfires in Australia, which have burned over 12 million acres, destroyed over 2,000 homes and killed at least 24 people. 

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park officials have temporarily closed a loop called Firehole Lake Drive because of damaged road surfaces caused by extreme heat.

Park spokesperson Dan Hottle says extreme temperatures coming from the surrounding thermal areas have caused oil to bubble to the surface of the 3 mile loop that branches off a heavily-used route through the park called the Grand Loop Road, "creating an unsafe condition for drivers".

The closed loop usually takes visitors past Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake.