Montana Public Radio

U.S. Forest Service

Fireline Episode 04: The Gift Of Fire

Mar 30, 2021
Fireline Episode 04: The Gift Of Fire
Jessy Stevenson

For millennia, wildfire was part of life in North America. Indigenous people used it for tradition and ceremony, to improve the health of ecosystems, and to assist with hunting and gathering. But the arrival of white settlers marked the beginning of an era in which that knowledge about fire and its role on the landscape was suppressed. Now, Indigenous groups across the country are working to revive tribal relationships with fire. Today, hear one story about bringing fire back to the land on the Flathead Reservation in Northwest Montana.

Map showing the vicinity of the propose Stovepipe Project on the Flathead National Forest.
U.S. Forest Service

The Flathead National Forest released its environmental assessment Tuesday for the Stovepipe Project northwest of Kalispell. The project aims to reduce the risk of intense fires in the wildland-urban interface and is expected to reduce some grizzly bear habitat.

PD

Federal agencies are figuring out how to treat masks on public land in the wake of Gov. Greg Gianforte’s repeal of Montana’s statewide mask mandate.

President Biden issued a national mandate for masks on federal lands and in federal buildings on January 20. Just over three weeks later, Gov. Gianforte lifted Montana’s mask mandate — although masks are still required in some counties and cities, and in state-owned buildings. 

SkiDale Timber Sale harvest area map, July 22, 2020.
Montana DNRC

Earlier this week, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced one of the first timber sales to go through a state-federal partnership this year. The amount of timber cut through the Good Neighbor Authority this year is expected to nearly double compared to 2020.

Kootenai National Forest sign.
Josh Burnham

On Wednesday, the Kootenai National Forest signaled that it's moving forward on a sprawling and controversial logging project.

The U.S. Forest Service says the roughly 100,000-acre Black Ram Project would reduce wildfire risk in the wildland-urban interface near Troy, Montana, while encouraging fire’s natural role in the ecosystem and restoring historic forest conditions.

Reclamation crews started removing the Mike Horse Dam at the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex east of Lincoln, Mont. in 2014.
Courtesy of Montana Department of Environmental Quality

State and federal officials say a large mining clean-up project in Montana is nearly complete and open for recreation.

At the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex east of Lincoln, crews have removed roughly 1 million cubic yards of tailings and mine waste. The area is the former site of a lead and zinc mine along with the six-and-a-half-story high Mike Horse Dam, which is made of mining waste.

Bison walking through deep snow.
Jim Peaco / National Park Service

The U.S. Forest Service this week proposed closing hunting with firearms in part of a controversial pinch-point where bison migrate out of Yellowstone National Park.

An map excerpt of the Soldier-Butler Project area.
Lolo National Forest

Two conservation groups Friday sued the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a proposed logging project in the Lolo National Forest on land wildlife managers say is important for grizzly bear connectivity.

A bill heard in a U.S. Senate committee on Sept. 16 proposes nearly 90 thousand acres of new wilderness and recreation areas in northwest Montana.

The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act stems from nearly a decade of collaboration between people representing wilderness, recreation and timber interests near Seeley Lake.

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.

Pages