MTPR

Phil Higuera

Few surviving trees remain in the changed landscape located in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area in Idaho.
Camille Stevens-Rumann

In the forests of the Rocky Mountains, fewer trees are growing back after recent wildfires because of climate change. That’s what a team of researchers discovered after studying seedling regeneration at 1,500 sites in five different states.

University of Montana fire ecology Professor Philip Higuera is a co-author of the study. He joins us now.

The Southwestern Crown Collaborative visits a burn site from the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake.
Brittany Greeson, Crossing The Divide

Wildfires burned more than a million acres across Montana this year, making it one of the most expensive fire seasons since 1999. While the smoke has cleared, the debate over wildfires and forest management is ongoing. Some Montana lawmakers are blaming what they call "environmental extremists" who've managed to stop some logging. But ecologists say it's more complicated than that. In an effort to learn how to live with wildfires, the Southwestern Crown Collaborative is one group trying to find common ground.

Panelists at a forum called "How do we live with fire?" at the University of Montana, October 24 in Missoula.
Josh Burnham

Across the state this summer, tens of thousands of Montanans had to face the challenge of living with big wildfires. Some people lost their homes, two firefighters lost their lives, and businesses, schools and individuals were impacted, in ways ranging from the mildly inconvenient to the life-changing.

"It's likely that we'll be experiencing more years like 2017 in the future," says Fire Ecologist Phil Higuera.