Environment & Science

The National Weather Service says the rain and snow western Montana is getting should continue through next week, and will potentially end this year’s fire season. The agency issued a winter storm warning for most of western Montana from 9 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Saturday, anticipating a dramatic change to very cold, wet weather.

Meteorologist Jenn Kitsmiller expects that will clear out smoke from the region and slow down fire activity.

Jim Peaco / NPS

Yellowstone National Park biologists have euthanized a grizzly bear with a history of exhibiting bold behavior toward humans.

Even after being captured, tagged and relocated to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest in 2015, Yellowstone Public Information Officer Jason Schafer says the bear was undeterred.

Nate Hegyi / YPR

In central Montana, drones are dropping peanut butter pellets on prairie dog colonies. It’s part of of an effort by biologists at the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge to save North America’s most endangered mammal.

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.

Now that fire season has extended into the school year, many western Montana schools have been keeping kids inside because of heavy smoke. But that doesn’t mean they’re breathing clean air. Some community partnerships are springing up to try to get air filters into more classrooms.

National Weather Service

This was the second driest summer on record in Montana, but meteorologists say rain is finally on the way. 

Since July, the state has seen towns threatened by wildfires and choked with smoke, crops getting killed by drought and grass fires destroying rangeland. 

But a cold and rainy system entering Montana Thursday could put at least a temporary end to the suffering.

Rachel Torres
Northern Plains Resource Council

On Thursday, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality held a public hearing on draft rules to oversee the disposal of radioactive oil waste in the state. 

An organization that's usually focused on bear conservation is raising money for air filters for schools in Frenchtown.

Missoula-based Bear Trust International is about $3,000 away from its goal of raising about $8,200 to place air filters in all 32 Frenchtown classrooms. A press release says the need is acute because there is no air conditioning in Frenchtown schools, so teachers have to open windows to moderate temperatures.

Fire officials on the Sprague Fire burning in Glacier National Park had good news and bad news at a public fire meeting at Park Headquarters Wednesday night. The good news, they told a standing room only crowd of more than 150 people, is that the smoke choking the Flathead Valley has also been dampening fire activity, holding the Sprague Fire at roughly 13,000 acres.

Plans for a water bottling plant outside Kalispell moved one step closer to fruition Tuesday. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality issued a wastewater discharge permit for the Montana Artesian Water Company. It’s one of two permits the plant needs to open.

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