Nate Hegyi

Helena Sounds-Off On Fate Of Confederate Fountain

It’s around lunch time in Helena as city employee Patrick Marron stands at the controversial Confederate memorial fountain in Hill Park. It is the only Confederate memorial in the northwestern United States, and Helena Mayor Jim Smith said it poses a safety concern following last weekend’s violence at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Wednesday night the Helena City Commission said they wanted the fountain gone.

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Nate Hegyi

It’s around lunch time in Helena as city employee Patrick Marron stands at the controversial Confederate memorial fountain in Hill Park.

It is the only Confederate memorial in the northwestern United States, and Helena Mayor Jim Smith said it poses a safety concern following last weekend’s violence at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.  

On Wednesday night the Helena City Commission said they wanted the fountain gone.

Caroline Byrd

A Canadian mining company and a pair of conservation groups have finalized agreements they say will protect two tributaries of the Yellowstone River and part of a crucial migration corridor for thousands of elk from Yellowstone National Park.

The 15,000 acre Lolo Peak Fire is quickly outgrowing law enforcement’s ability to secure the estimated 600 homes now evacuated along the Highway 93 and Highway 12 corridors.

Missoula County Commissioners are now considering turning to the Montana National Guard for help.

Western Montana’s Lolo Peak Fire burned through almost 5,000 acres during its run Wednesday night west of Lolo. Stiff winds spurred that now 15,000 acre fire on its four mile push to the east.

"Where the fire moved, to an extent was not a surprise as it relates to the overall plan. How quickly it moved to where it did, obviously, nobody was necessarily expecting that to happen as quickly as it did," says Lolo Peak Fire Information officer Bill Queen.

All three members of Montana’s congressional delegation have now commented on the events in Charlottesville.

Update: 9:50: This from the Missoula County Sheriff's Office: "Due to the recent fire activity, evacuation passes need to be postponed until further notice.

In the past week alone, firefighters in northwest Montana attacked more than 40 small wildfires, and there’s no end in sight for this summer’s active fire season. But, firefighters are about to get some big help.

"That is the Black Hawk coming in right there," says Wyatt Frampton.

The fate of over two dozen national monuments on federal land will be determined in just over a week. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will present his recommendations to President Donald Trump on August 24. They’ll outline which national monuments should be left alone, which should be scaled back, or perhaps even scrapped altogether.

Trump called the monument areas "a massive federal land grab" by previous administrations.

Goat Creek Fire / Inciweb

The state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation says the spending has included almost all of the $32 million set aside in the state’s fire response fund. That fund had been twice as large, but state lawmakers siphoned about half the money away to cover revenue shortfalls in the state budget.

Flickr Creative Commons

Montana's firefighting fund will run dry by the end of the week, forcing state officials to begin drawing money from emergency reserves to keep crews and equipment on the front lines of the country's worst collection of wildland fires. As of today, Brie Ripley reports more than $168 million of mostly federal money has gone into battling about 80 large fires that have charred more than 400,000 acres statewide.

In the past week alone, firefighters in northwest Montana attacked more than 40 small wildfires, and there’s no end in sight for this summer’s active fire season. But, as Nicky Ouellet reports, they’re about to get some big help.

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