Wildfires

A large fire and plume of smoke burning down trees.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management / U.S. Bureau of Land Management

Increasingly intense wildfires that have scorched forests from California to Australia are stoking worry about long-term health impacts from smoke exposure in affected cities and towns.

A Missoula-based fire aviation company is helping battle a massive wildfire in the heart of Northern California wine country.

Five of Neptune Aviation’s nine jet tankers are hitting the Kincade Fire with retardant drops to help slow its spread.

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


The Custer Gallatin National Forest Monday postponed several controlled burns in southwest Montana due to an incoming winter storm.

Two new wildfires were reported in today, one near Wolf Creek and the other near Twin Bridges.

U.S. Drought Monitor Map of Montana, August 13, 2019.
U.S. Drought Monitor

The governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee almost cancelled its monthly meeting Thursday because there isn’t really a drought issue in Montana right now. Committee members say moisture conditions look good for most of the state and fire activity is expected to remain moderate.

We’ve had a brutal fire season this year. The fires still burning across California have left more than 80 dead, and hundreds are still missing. Amidst the flames, a seemingly new trend has emerged – a two-tiered system with private firefighting resources for those who can afford them, and a system stretched thin for the rest.


The words “record-breaking” and “unprecedented” are commonly used to describe the scale of the modern-day west’s wildfires. But a new study suggests those terms leave out some important historical context.

It may be autumn in a couple of days but wildfire season isn't slowing down. People living in parts of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah remain evacuated from their homes because of nearby wildfires. And the flames are fueling another thing-private firefighting companies.

Fire ecologists on both sides of the border say more logging isn't a 'silver bullet' solution to wildfires.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

The sun is just a dim red dot. The nearby Canadian Rockies are shrouded in thick wildfire smoke.

Bob Gray knows we probably shouldn’t be hiking up a mountain right now.

“I have a scratchy throat,” he says. “Physically it effects my breathing. I probably shouldn’t spend a lot of time in it.”

Over the last 30 years, the West has seen an uptick in the size and frequency of forest fires. Scientists have typically attributed the change to low snowpack and high summer temperatures. But researchers writing in the journal PNAS say the trend could have more to do with rain.

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