The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

Articles written by Bowman Leigh


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  • How artificial intelligence plus local expertise can promote 'good fire' in Montana¬†

    Bowman Leigh, Montana Free Press|Updated Oct 2, 2023

    On an unassuming hillside in the Lolo National Forest outside Missoula, tall piles of dead branches and hand-thinned small trees dot the forest floor on either side of a winding dirt road. It's late August, and Missoula District Ranger Crystal Stonesifer and members of the district's fire management team stand outside their pickup truck and look over the mounds of woody debris, evidence of treatments being applied to the forest to slow future wildfires. The piles indicate...

  • Montana's 2023 wildfire season begins with Colt and Bowles Creek fires

    Bowman Leigh, Montana Free Press|Updated Jul 27, 2023

    As a heat wave brought temperatures as high as 102 degrees to parts of western Montana over the weekend, the state's summer fire season kicked off with two lightning-caused wildfires that quickly gained steam. COLT FIRE The Colt Fire started 15 miles northwest of Seeley Lake on Monday, July 17, and by the afternoon of Friday, July 21 had grown to approximately 200 acres, as reported by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. The Missoula County Sheriff's...