MTPR

Kootenai National Forest

A member of the Flathead Hotshots walks the fire line at the edge of a prescribed burn near Lakeside this spring
Nicky Ouellet

Fire season arrived in Montana this month. As crew leaders set up command centers and assess the flames, they’re seeing the product of previous management decisions that have shaped the forest.

July Fire file photo courtesy of InciWeb
InciWeb

Update: 6:30 p.m. 07/10/17

Tribal officials have increased the fire danger to “Extreme” on the west side of the Flathead Indian Reservation and “Very High” on the east side.

Fire managers for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes write in a press release that fine, dead fuels are drying out across the reservation. They add human behavior, such as tossing cigarette butts onto dry grass, leaving campfires unattended, lighting fireworks, burning debris and driving through dry grasses, has caused multiple grass fires across the Northern Rockies over the past week.

Beauty of the Big Sky, U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree
U.S. Forest Service

A tree from northwest Montana will grace the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington next Christmas. The U.S. Forest Service has been supplying the capitol with trees for decades. Elizabeth Slown, spokesperson for the Northern Region of the Forest Service, says this year, the Kootenai National Forest has the honor.

Weyerhaeuser closed its lumber and plywood mills in Columbia Falls last week.
Eric Whitney

A job at the lumber mills in Columbia Falls was supposed to be the kind of job you’d have forever. But forever came to an end last Friday, when the Weyerhaeuser Company sawed its last logs at its lumber and plywood mills in the industrial heart of the Flathead Valley. The mills had been open since the late 1940s.

Flathead National Forest to update forest plan, seeks public input
Nicky Ouellet

The forest in the Flathead is about to see some big changes – or not. It all depends on how proposed changes to the Flathead’s National Forest Plan shake out.

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