Environment & Science

Between Havre and Box Elder along hwy 87 looking south at the Bear's Paw Mountains. [ROCKY BOY'S]
Matt Lavin / Flickr

Dustin White, the Chippewa-Cree tribal water director, says it is one of the worst water shortages he’s ever seen on the Rocky Boy's reservation.

“I’m at the mercy of the weather right now,” White says.

Within two weeks, as many as 3,000 people could run out of water as relentless hot temperatures, a drought and a failed water storage tank cause water supplies to fall to critically low levels near the town of Box Elder in north-central Montana. 

Update 5 p.m. 07/11/17

Fire officials are now investigating whether a person is responsible for starting the big fire burning near Zortman.

"In order not to compromise the investigation, the BLM is not currently discussing the active investigation," says Pat Stocktt, who's with the Western Montana Incident Management Team.

Update: 6:30 p.m. 07/10/17

Tribal officials have increased the fire danger to “Extreme” on the west side of the Flathead Indian Reservation and “Very High” on the east side.

Fire managers for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes write in a press release that fine, dead fuels are drying out across the reservation. They add human behavior, such as tossing cigarette butts onto dry grass, leaving campfires unattended, lighting fireworks, burning debris and driving through dry grasses, has caused multiple grass fires across the Northern Rockies over the past week.

Lightning on Friday afternoon resulted in several fire starts across Northwest Montana, some of which were not detected until Sunday.

Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation reports numerous fires scattered throughout the Pleasant Valley/Happy’s Inn/ACM/Fisher River area.

This post will be updated as new information becomes available.

UPDATE 530 PM: Montana DNRC reports that the Rogers Mountain fire is "making a run," that winds are pushing it south and east toward Happy's Inn. The Lincoln County Sheriff's office says the sheriff is headed to the area now to assess whether a pre-evacuation notice should be issued. 

DNRC says that single engine air tankers are attacking the Rogers Mountain fire, and that a heavy air tanker has been ordered. 

UPDATE: 3:55 PM: 

A mixed bag of news today from the July fire burning south of the Fort Belknap Reservation in Phillips County. 

Yellowstone National Park took to Facebook today to tamp down ongoing speculation that a cataclysmic seismic event is imminent.

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.

(Flickr Creative Commons) (https://flic.kr/p/8whSKU)

Officials say nobody was injured and nothing was damaged as a result of the largest earthquake in the Helena area since 1935.

“After a strong shake like this, damage assessment is done immediately to determine if there are any problems, and in this case, we were fortunate enough to file none,” said Paul Spengler, the Lewis and Clark County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator.

USGS

An earthquake shook some Montanans awake shortly after midnight Thursday.

The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s office says no damage or injuries have been reported.

Scientists say the epicenter was about six miles south-east of Lincoln.

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