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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.

Can you see it? The fire in the photo above?

A single tree burning doesn't put up much smoke.

There's a flash of lightning, sizzling across the sky. Then a pause as bark smolders and flames creep, building heat until poof: a signal in the sky.

Philip Connors, gazing outward from a tower, sees it as a new dent on the crest of a distant ridge. He's spent thousands of hours contemplating the contours of southwest New Mexico. The fuzzy smudge is out of place.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

A new state revenue update says Montana’s rainy day and firefighting funds are looking flush as more money is coming in than projected. But a report from legislative researchers indicates the recent cashflow spike could be a temporary blip.

Fire Management Officer Keith Van Broke oversees the start of a 2017 prescribed burn to clear dry, dead brush from an area logged three years previous.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

After a tame fire season, the Flathead National Forest hopes to spark a number of prescribed burns in the coming weeks, but rain could limit how much work fire managers get done.

McClusky Fire from Four Corners Trailhead 09/05.
Inciweb

Significantly cooler weather is helping fire crews battling a 2,900 acre wildfire burning east of Butte.

Hot, dry and windy weather spurred the McClusky Fire to nearly triple in size earlier this week. But fire spokesperson Kristin Sleeper describes the McClusky Fire’s growth and behavior over the past 24-hours as minimal

InciWeb

Yesterday’s hot, windy red flag weather spurred the McClusky Fire east of Butte to nearly triple in size.

Fire team spokesperson Kristin Sleeper says today’s weather has been more forgiving. But the 2,887-acre blaze in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is expected to continue growing into the evening.

Firefighters are keeping track of further weather changes tonight heading into tomorrow, including potential gusty winds.

A firefighter carries a drip-torch during a previous controlled burn in the Bitterroot National Forest.
Bitterroot National Forest

Fall is here, and the Bitterroot National Forest’s first seasonal prescribed burns could begin Saturday in the Lake Como/Lost Horse area. The planned blazes allow managers to remove excess forest fuels and downed timber.

Though few relish the smoke, Bitterroot Forest spokesman Tod McKay said prescribed burns are critical in preparing for the next fire season.

Large swaths of Montana and Wyoming are facing critical fire danger today.

Fire crews on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation have counted 80-plus coal seam fires. This season, some are new and have caused grass fires, while others date back decades.

Crews are trying to finish digging control lines around the 20 acre Welcome 1002 Fire burning a few miles southwest of the town of Hot Springs on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

C.T. Camel, fire management specialist for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, says firefighters are working quick to preempt high projected temperatures the rest of the week.

Posted on Cascade County Sheriff's Office Facebook page Mon. 9/2/19
Casecade County Sheriff's Office

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