BLM

Keeping Montanans up to date on all the fires burning in the state is a challenge in this unprecedented fire season.  

The Bureau of Land Management office for Montana and the Dakotas has been meeting that challenge since September 1, 2017 using social media.

Montana Legislature

The largest wildfire in the U.S. this year burned in Montana, decimating 423 miles of fertile rangeland, and with it, the livelihoods of many Garfield and Petroleum County ranchers.

Republican State Representative Bill Harris of Winnet was one of them. Harris documented much of the disaster that destroyed his ranchland on his personal Facebook. He’s pointing the finger at a nearby Wilderness Study Area (WSA) managed by the Bureau of Land Management as contributing to overall fire devastation.

Roundup Of Fire Warnings, Restrictions

Jul 7, 2017

Fire danger in northwest Montana forests has been moved to “high” ahead of a weekend forecasted to be hot and dry.

Managers on the Flathead and Kootenai National Forests are anticipating higher risk for fire starts as temperatures continue into the 90s and dead brush dries out. The “high” fire danger designation means fires can start easily from most causes.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to streamline the process for oil and gas development on federal lands. Zinke signed an order Thursday mandating Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease sales be held in each state on at least a quarterly basis.

Zinke noted during a telephone press conference that under the Obama administration BLM fell far short of that legally-mandated limit.

Extreme fires, flash droughts, and fast-melting snowpacks are all predicted in the state's first ever climate assessment, which is slated for release on September 20th.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management

Fire officials say this morning the winds have shifted and are now coming of of the east-southeast pushing the July Fire northwest towards Landusky.

Phillips County Sheriff's Deputies have made contact with residents of Landusky and told them to get ready to evacuate.

UPDATED: 9:00 AM Tue 7/5

Despite some favorable conditions  overnight, a large wildfire is still burning too close for comfort near the town of Zortman. 

The July fire is now estimated at 1,669 acres. Initial estimates had the fire at about 1-thousand acres. Wind and terrain carried the fire away from town on Tuesday, but it still managed to creep to within a quarter-mile of Zortman, which is about an hour southwest of Malta and just outside of the Fort Belknap Reservation.

Jennifer Strickland, USFWS

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order to review federal efforts to conserve imperiled sage grouse populations across 11 western states.

The action taken late yesterday. The order is meant to improve sage grouse conservation and collaboration between the federal government, states and local communities.  He told reporters during a conference call he has heard concern from some governors and residents that their suggestions are falling on deaf ears.

Jackie Yamanaka

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced he lifted the moratorium on federal coal leases.   

The action came after President Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday that included calling on a review of that moratorium.