Montana Public Radio

Kootenai National Forest

Grizzly bear.

This week an environmental group filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in federal court in Missoula, saying that grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak area of northwest Montana should be listed as endangered species.

Ross Creek Cedars
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

On the Kootenai National Forest, one wildfire is burning within 1/2 mile of the Ross Creek Cedars, a popular scenic area home to massive cedars up to 1,000 years old.

Fire officials say they're working to keep the Sawtooth Fire from the Ross Creek Cedars, a popular tourist destination on the Kootenai National Forest
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

In far northwest Montana, about 85 homes remain evacuated due to the Napoleon fire. It’s part of what’s now being called the Clark Fork Complex of six fires straddling the Montana - Idaho border.

3 fires burning near Noxon have prompted evacuations orders along Highway 56, and filled the air with smoke.
Courtesy Geri Lee

Near the Montana - Idaho state line in Sanders County today, an additional 30 to 40 homes north of Noxon have been evacuated, a day after fire officials told residents in about 14 other homes to leave.

Wind and very low humidity have caused several fires burning in the Kootenai National Forest to spread, prompting concerns that they may combine, that’s according to fire information officer John Head.

Three fires are burning near Noxon, MT, prompting evacuations and filling the air with smoke.
Courtesy Geri Lee

In Sanders County, the evacuation area has been increased for fires burning in the Bull River Valley near Noxon.

Tom Rummel, the Sheriff in Sanders county says the evacuation area now includes Highway 56 between mile marker 2.7 and mile-marker 8, and the East Fork of the Bull River is evacuated starting at 8 mile. Rummel says the expanded evacuation order was issued about 1:30 p.m.

Residents of Essex and surrounding communities are advised to prepare for possible evacuation as the Sheep Fire burns a couple miles south of town.
Jonathan Moor/Inciweb

Some residents near Noxon have been ordered to evacuate due to wildfire, and an evacuation warning is in effect for Essex.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 18, 2015

Aug 18, 2015
The Bear Creek Fire burning along Spotted Bear River Road, August 14, 2015.

A roundup of the biggest fires burning in western Montana August 18, 2015.

Josh Burnham

Greater restrictions on burning will go into effect later this week as fire danger increases in Northwest Montana. The Stage 2 fire restrictions will go into effect all across northwest Montana at 1:00 a.m. Thursday.

Bull trout
flickr/USFWS Headquarters

A copper and silver mine for northwest Montana appears one step closer to approval and this worries Mary Costello.