Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

A photo of a home before and after wildfire preparation.
Fire Safe Montana

 

Montana is predicted to have an above average wildfire season. And with firefighters potentially facing dual emergencies of wildfire and COVID-19, specialists say that this year, more than any other, residents can play a vital role in keeping firefighters safe by preparing their homes and communities. Morgan Levey takes us on a wildfire assessment of her home.

Three men sit well-spaced around a u-shaped table. Squares of other participants on the Zoom call are visible at the top of the image.
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation


Wildland fire managers told Governor Steve Bullock June 16 in a 2020 fire season briefing they’re ready for what could become an above average fire year made even more complicated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Fire hose
Inciweb

Pre-evacuation notices were lifted Tuesday for about 20 homes threatened by the Lump Gulch Fire burning south of Helena in Jefferson County. Strong winds caused the fire to grow quickly this weekend.

John Tubbs, Director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, says he doesn't know how those homes were spared.

	 The Miller Complex includes 25 wildfires that were caused by lightning on August 14, 2017.
Maria Thi Mai / Public Domain


A 1,500 acre wildfire south of Helena kicked off Montana’s fire season this past weekend. This year, many of the strategies fire crews use to protect property and resources will look different as fire fighters also try to protect themselves from the COVID-19 illness. Two Type 1 fire incident commanders break down how new COVID-19 protocols will play out in the Northern Rockies.

A graphic showing April snowpack from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation's spring 2020 water supply outlook.
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation


A new report from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is tentatively hopeful about Montana’s spring water outlook heading into fire season.

Sean Claffey, coordinator for the Southwest Montana Sagebrush Partnership, walks past curl-leaf mountain mahogany in the sagebrush steppe on land managed by the DNRC near Dillon, Montana, May 12, 2020.
Rachel Cramer/Yellowstone Public Radio

 

Sagebrush grasslands in southwest Montana have been disappearing for decades, putting ranchers and wildlife in jeopardy. A project is aiming to reverse this trend and engage a local workforce left in limbo by the novel coronavirus.

Porcupine prescribed burn Custer Gallatin National Forest 2018.
Courtesy of Custer Gallatin National Forest

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.

A copper mining company and Butte-Silver Bow county agreed this week to a plan to pump more cold, clean water into local creeks. While the company and county call the deal a win-win, some are concerned about the downstream impacts.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is one step closer to purchasing the land that makes up Big Arm State Park on Flathead Lake. Officials says the deal is critical to maintaining the important public access point on the lake. 

Participants in the 2019 Environmental Stewardship Tour look at several fish species collected from Deep Creek, Broadwater County, Montana, September 09, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Ranchers in Montana are finding innovative ways to support their livestock while conserving native fisheries. A group of ranchers, conservationists and wildlife advocates recently visited the Hahn Ranch, a 2018 National Environmental Stewardship Award finalist recognized for its role restoring Deep Creek.

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