MTPR

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

Governor Declares Fire Emergency In Montana

Aug 16, 2015
MT DNRC

Citing active wildfires and extreme fire danger across the state, Governor Steve Bullock has issued an executive order declaring a fire emergency in Montana. “Montana is facing extreme fire conditions. This declaration will provide additional resources to the brave men and women fighting these fires,” Bullock said of the declaration. 

A lot of people know about the Berkeley Pit in Butte, but not many know about another significant pollution challenge in the Mining City. It’s called the Parrot Plume, and there’s controversy over whether it needs to be cleaned up, and if so, who would pay for it.

Without water, we perish. For 30 years, the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes and the state of Montana have disagreed about tribal water right claims. But this year the legislature approved a comprehensive water rights agreement. Melissa Hornbein was one of the lead attorneys in the negotiations, working for Montana DNRC and the Montana Reserved Water Rights Commission. Hornbein talks with Brian Kahn about the legal and emotional challenges of negotiating the Flathead water compact.

Firefighters and fire truck.
BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

Montana fire officials are urging people to be extra careful with fire this weekend and over Fourth of July.

Negotiating teams for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the State of Montana, and the United States have completed a revised draft of a proposed water right compact.

However, a copy of the draft is not yet publicly available.

A Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation press release says: "For copies of the public review draft of the Revised Compact and associated documents please check the RWRCC website during the week of January 5, 2015"

Danny Dauterive

A large fire that ignited yesterday in Missoula's Miller Creek drainage no longer presents a threat to Northwestern Energy high voltage power lines, communication towers on Dean Stone Mountain or local homes.

An overheated chainsaw muffler sparked the Lost Mine Loop fire. Miller Creek Road remains closed to all but fire crews and local traffic.The fire is now estimated to encompass 153 acres and is 75 percent contained.

Montana DNRC

Investigators say an overheated chainsaw side muffler ignited a wildfire that started yesterday afternoon in Missoula's Miller Creek drainage.

That fire now has a name - The Lost Mine Loop fire. It started Sunday afternoon around 2:00.  A flight survey will arrive today to determine the size of the fire, which is estimated to be greater than 60 acres.

In this evening's feature interview with Edward O'Brien, Michael Downey with Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation explains why it's taken over 20 years to update Montana's water plan:

The existing Montana State Water Plan is long overdue for an update.

The existing plan guides the conservation and management of Montana's water resources.

It is currently over 20 years old and fails to address contemporary issues and challenges faced by water users today.

Josh Burnham (CC-BY)

The soaking rain that fell in parts of Western Montana dramatically cooled temperatures yesterday and came as welcome respite from the very hot and dry conditions of the past few weeks.

Fire officials, however, caution the rain by no means qualifies as a "season-ending" event.
       Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation's Jordan Koppen says the rain storm that parked over the Missoula valley yesterday was great to see:
      

Dan Boyce

A Democratic state representative believes a new water plan being developed by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) may provide a vehicle for inserting more climate science into state policy.

On Tuesday, members of the legislature’s Water Policy Interim Committee heard presentations from several prominent state climate scientists on the future of agricultural water use. These addressed the changing of Montana’s mountain snowpack, key stresses on the state’s water sources, and projections of future water supply.

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