Regional News

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: 

The Montana Folk Festival in Butte kicks off tonight. This year is its 10th anniversary, and it’s a significant boost to the Copper city’s economy.

Earlier today, staff at the Uptown Cafe were busy preparing for the expected dinner rush. Mary McAlexander, the manager said, “Business for us quadruples on this weekend from what it would normally be, so we love it.”

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

Montana was one of the last states to expand Medicaid, and its Obamacare marketplace is doing pretty well. It has 50,000 customers, decent competition and no places that have come to be called "bare counties" — where no insurers want to sell plans.

Still, the three insurers selling in Montana now say that if GOP plans to cut Medicaid and repeal the individual mandate go through, it will mean higher costs all around.

Leaders of Montana doctors, nurses and hospital groups today spoke out against the health care bill being proposed by Senate Republicans.

John Goodnow is the CEO of Benefis, Montana's second largest hospital system, based in Great Falls. And he's no fan of the health care bill the House passed in May. Nor does he like the Senate's proposed changes to it.

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.

(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.

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.

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.

Gas and diesel prices ticked up over the weekend as a new state tax went into effect. The new tax will increase every July 1 for the next six years, to fund maintenance on bridges and roads across the state.

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