Montana Public Radio

wildfire

The Flathead National Forest issued a draft decision Thursday for a large forest thinning project northwest of Whitefish. The project calls for a thousands of acres of commercial timber harvest and several miles of new roads.

Firefighters loading up onto a helicopter on the Sunrise Fire.
Rand Snyder/Inciweb

New national wildfire response plans released Thursday give us a better picture of what firefighting will now look like in the COVID-19 era.

The days of big fire camps, those self-contained cities that seem to magically appear in open fields overnight are, at least for this year, a thing of the past. Under new guidelines released Thursday, they’re being replaced with a system designed to foster proper social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Interagency Fire Center Predictive Services is forecasting warmer and drier than average conditions in late May for western Montana.
National Interagency Fire Center

Fire experts are predicting an above average potential for wildfires in Montana later this summer. The state’s existing normal to slightly-above-normal snowpack buys us time, but anticipated warmer and drier than average conditions could significantly raise the stakes by late summer. 

Firefighters loading up onto a helicopter on the Sunrise Fire.
Rand Snyder/Inciweb

Traditional wildland firefighting is defined by women and men working, eating and sleeping shoulder to shoulder for days on end. That close-quarters work could endanger firefighters during the ongoing pandemic.

Edward O’Brien reports on how Montana’s fire managers are preparing for a season that could be like none other in recent memory.

Fire officers on the Crow Reservation say they responded to a dozen small wildfires over the past week.

Land managers are taking advantage of cool, wet conditions to intentionally burn areas they think could help reduce wildland fire risk to certain communities. This season the Bureau of Land Management is planning multiple prescribed burns in north central Montana.

The National Weather Service on Mar. 3 issued a red flag warning for parts of central and southeastern Montana due to dry winds that could lead to “extreme fire behavior.”

It may be winter but fire danger around Montana could spike this weekend when a system with strong winds, dry conditions and possible record highs for parts of Montana blows in on Saturday.

A survey of elk hiding cover in the Telegraph Vegetation Project area.
Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A wildfire mitigation project was allowed to proceed in Montana's Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest after two conservation groups raised concerns over the impact on big game habitat, federal appeals court officials said.

Grants Available For Home Wildfire Protection

Jan 13, 2020

 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) plans to award $500 grants to homeowners for fire protection. 

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