Environment & Science

This summer one tiny-shelled invertebrate has dominated the conversation about keeping non-native species out of Montana.

Since zebra and quagga mussel larvae were detected in Tiber Reservoir last summer, local, state, tribal and federal agencies have scrambled to enact programs and policies to keep the mussels out of Montana’s waterways.

The Garfield County Sheriff is lifting the evacuations for property owners in the Lodgepole Complex Fire area. That’s thanks to more favorable weather conditions that have allowed firefighters from 34 states to make some progress on trying to contain the massive 390 square mile fire.

Nate Hegyi

Brie Ripley interviews YPR reporter Nate Hegyi who is onsite at the Lodgepole Complex fire, the largest wildfire in the country at 353 sq. miles.

Greater Eagle Fire Department

The largest wildfire in the nation burns right now in Montana, and it's the size of New York City. The 353 square mile Lodgepole Complex fire is burning in Garfield and Petroleum counties of eastern Montana.

Dustin White, the Chippewa-Cree tribal water director, stands next to a water storage supply tank on the Rocky Boy's reservation.
Nate Hegyi / YPR

3,000 people might run out of water this summer on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, but a bipartisan bill moving through U.S. Congress could bring some much-needed relief.

Paul Enenbach / Flickr Creative Commons

A coal power plant owes $2 million in property taxes to Big Horn County in southern Montana.

Billings Gazette reporter Matt Hudson has been following this story for nearly a year, and shares insights on the latest in late payments.

This story was updated at 3:30pm.

Trenton Johnson was on just his second assignment for Oregon-based Grayback Forestry when he was struck by a falling tree.

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

Governor Steve Bullock issued an Executive Order Wednesday declaring a drought disaster for 28 counties and five Indian Reservations.

As the state ramps up its efforts this year to screen boats for invasive species, some local groups have taken inspections into their own hands.

The City of Whitefish and the Whitefish Lake Institute, for example, have been running two city-funded mandatory check stations since Memorial Day at the only public boat launches on Whitefish Lake. The Whitefish Lake Institute, a local nonprofit that monitors water quality on the lake, also runs a decontamination station.

Updated 6:05 pm

Fire officials in the greater Flathead Valley say there’s been 86 wildfires reported in the area since July 1, and at least half of them are human caused. The area is currently pegged at “Very High” fire danger, as hot, dry conditions and almost daily lightning storms persist.

Lincoln Chute is the fire manager for Flathead County Office of Emergency Services.

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