Montana Public Radio

Montana Wildfire News

Get the latest wildfire, fire management and air quality news for Western Montana and the Northern Rockies right here, on your radio during our morning and evening newscasts, via podcast, or in your inbox each day.

Prescribed burn in Crazy Canyon near Missoula, MT.
Lolo National Forest

Firefighters are conducting prescribed burns on both the Lolo and Lewis & Clark National Forests. Area residents may notice the smoke.

Montana Drought Monitor map for April 13, 2021 shows around 60% of Montana facing drought conditions.
Deborah Bathke / National Drought Mitigation Center

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s office Monday released this year’s state Water and Supply and Drought Outlook report. Over 60 percent of Montana is facing drought conditions.

A closeup satellite image shows a thick layer of wildfire smoke covering Idaho and Montana, September 4, 2017.

Three Montana counties: Lewis & Clark, Ravalli and Lincoln, rank nationally among the 25 counties most polluted by short-term or year-round particle air pollution. That’s according to a new American Lung Association report that says wildfires are the main culprit

Fireline Episode 06 - Part 2: The Fire Triangle

Apr 20, 2021

Tens of millions of people across the West are facing the reality of life in a flammable landscape. When we hear about communities getting wiped out by wildfires, what’s actually going on? Why is it happening? And what can we do about it? Learn more now on the final episode of Fireline.

Primm Meadows in the Blackfoot Valley on the Lolo National Forest.
Josh Burnham

State and volunteer fire crews are planning a series of prescribed burns in the Blackfoot Valley this spring to reduce the risk of more severe wildfires.

Fireline Episode 06 - Part 1: Moral Hazard

Apr 13, 2021

The Wildland Urban Interface, or WUI, is where forest and homes meet. It’s the fastest growing land use type in the nation, and also where one in three homes across the country are situated. What’s it mean to live in the WUI, where the stakes of wildfire are higher than anywhere else? And why is this area so vulnerable to fire?

Learn more now on Fireline Episode 6 - part 1

Fireline Episode 05: Burnout

Apr 6, 2021
Fireline Episode 05: Burnout
Jessy Stevenson

There are more than 30,000 people who fight wildfires in the U.S., and about 400 firefighters have died on the job over the last two decades. As fire seasons get longer and fires become more devastating, the physical and mental toll on firefighters themselves is also growing. Learn more now on Fireline Episode 05: Burnout.

A prescribed underburn in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area near Missoula in the fall of 2019.
Lolo National Forest

A prescribed burn is responsible for a large plume of smoke in Pattee Canyon just outside Missoula Thursday.

"We don’t want anyone to be alarmed," Lolo National Forest spokesperson Kate Jerman says. "It is part of the Pattee Canyon maintenance project which is an ongoing project in that area working to reduce hazardous fuels in areas nearby Missoula."

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.