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Firefighter recounts rescuing mountain lion cubs from blaze

Firefighter recounts rescuing mountain lion cubs from blaze

Bitterroot National Forest spokesman Tod McKay said Montana FWP brought the animals, both males that are just one or two weeks old, to its Montana Wildlife Center in Helena, where the agency rehabilitates orphaned, injured and displaced wildlife. No decisions have been made yet on when or if the cubs can be re-released into the wild.

FLORENCE — One of the firefighters on the crew that found a pair of mountain lion cubs in a fire near Florence said she’s glad both animals got out of the situation unharmed.

Elizabeth Shellenbarger, a member of the Bitterroot National Forest Helitack crew based in Hamilton that was one of the first teams to respond to the Three Mile fire, said she was on the ground Friday afternoon digging a fire line when her crew started hearing noises.

“We kept hearing a sound, it sounded like a bird crying,” she said.

Minutes later, one of the seven-member crew yelled out to the others that they had found a baby mountain lion. Shellenbarger said it was in some thick brush by a log that was on fire. The crew grabbed the animal, and then called in a bucket drop from a helicopter, which doused the area with 600 gallons of water.

“Right after the water hit the ground, we realized there was a second kitten that got hit by the brunt of it,” Shellenbarger said.

August 31, 2014 8:21 pm Photos

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State sees savings as fires burn 5 percent of average acreage this summer

State sees savings as fires burn 5 percent of average acreage this summer

So far, the 2014 wildfire season in Montana has been defined more by what hasn’t happened than by what has.

August 29, 2014 12:15 am Photos

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Crews working to contain wildfire near Grass Range

Crews working to contain wildfire near Grass Range

Crews are working to contain a wildfire burning on 1,100 acres about seven miles northeast of Grass Range.

August 20, 2014 6:55 am Photos

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Washington's largest mule deer herd threatened by fires

Washington's largest mule deer herd threatened by fires

Washington’s largest deer herd will have to be reduced by hunting, and winter feeding is planned for the survivors in the aftermath of wildfir…

August 15, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Wyoming Guard copter to help in firefighting

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Gov. Matt Mead has activated a Wyoming Army National Guard helicopter and its crew to help firefighters battling wildfires in…

August 14, 2014 4:40 pmLoading…
Wildfires burn fewer acres in Montana this season

Wildfires burn fewer acres in Montana this season

HELENA — Officials say the number of wildfires in Montana this year is about average, but the number of acres burned is well below the norm.

August 14, 2014 2:20 pmLoading…
Wyoming wildland fire fund untapped so far

Wyoming wildland fire fund untapped so far

CASPER, Wyo. — Thanks to a relatively quiet wildfire season so far in Wyoming, firefighting agencies have yet to tap a $16 million fund alloca…

August 11, 2014 10:15 amLoading…

Crews try to keep wildfires away from homes near Thompson Falls

Fire crews are still hard at work fighting the Thompson River Complex fires burning near Plains and Thompson Falls.

August 11, 2014 7:24 amLoading…
Wyoming firefighting agencies yet to tap fund for wild land fires

Wyoming firefighting agencies yet to tap fund for wild land fires

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming firefighting agencies have yet to tap the approximately $16 million fund allocated for fire suppression in the state.

August 11, 2014 12:15 amLoading…

Trails reopened after fire is contained

Two trails into the Lava Lake area south of Bozeman were reopened on Friday after firefighters contained a fire burning just above the lake.

August 08, 2014 10:08 amLoading…
Crooked Creek fire controlled; recreation area open

Crooked Creek fire controlled; recreation area open

Wildland firefighters had the Crooked Creek fire on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge 100 percent contained by Sunday and under …

August 06, 2014 3:07 pmLoading…

Gallatin forest fire aided by rainfall

The lightning caused Lava Lake fire burning in heavy fuels in a rugged portion of the Gallatin National Forest south of Bozeman was 40 percent…

August 05, 2014 10:57 amLoading…
Firefighters attack 1 blaze near I-90, mop up another off West 64th

Firefighters attack 1 blaze near I-90, mop up another off West 64th

Firefighters finished mopping up a 10-acre grass fire at about 3 p.m. Thursday near Hardin.

July 31, 2014 2:28 pm Photos

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Bighorn Forest fire fully contained

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Firefighters have contained a wildfire burning in the Bighorn National Forest in northern Wyoming.

July 30, 2014 9:30 amLoading…
Roundup fire "knocked down"

Roundup fire "knocked down"

Tuesday afternoon's wildfire between Bender Road and Kelly Road near Roundup has been "knocked down pretty good," said Musselshell County Sher…

July 30, 2014 7:51 am Photos

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Wildfire burns 100-150 acres near Roundup

Wildfire burns 100-150 acres near Roundup

A fire in the Roundup area near Bender Road has burned between 100 and 150 acres, according to the Roundup Disaster and Emergency Services Fac…

July 29, 2014 4:13 pm Photos

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Fires continue to burn near Billings

Fires continue to burn near Billings

Two fires continued to burn near Billings on Monday.

July 28, 2014 4:42 pmLoading…

Missing firefighter found alive on remote road

DARBY – A Bitterroot National Forest firefighter missing since Sunday afternoon was found alive Monday afternoon by search crews.

July 28, 2014 4:02 pmLoading…

Small wildfires breaking out in northwest Wyoming

JACKSON, Wyo. — Several small wildfires have broken out in northwest Wyoming over the past several days.

July 28, 2014 2:15 pmLoading…
Mild so far: Officials say there's still time left for lots of wildfires

Mild so far: Officials say there's still time left for lots of wildfires

Wildfire activity in Montana has been fairly quiet so far in 2014, but officials hope residents don’t let down their guard as the season heats up.

July 27, 2014 7:00 pmLoading…
Small wildfires keep Montana firefighters busy

Small wildfires keep Montana firefighters busy

Firefighters attacked and monitored several wildfires around Montana over the weekend.

July 27, 2014 2:38 pm Related Loading…
Hysham wildfire eats up 500 acres

Hysham wildfire eats up 500 acres

A Hysham wildfire that broke out Saturday afternoon has devoured 500 acres between Interstate 94 and the Yellowstone River southwest of town, …

July 26, 2014 10:01 pm Photos

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Fire season in West expected to get more intense

Fire season in West expected to get more intense

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Despite widespread drought in the West and expectations of an above-average wildfire season, wildfires have burned less th…

July 23, 2014 1:51 pmLoading…

Fire truck overturns while responding to blaze

GREAT FALLS — Authorities say a fire truck overturned after colliding with another vehicle as they were headed to a grass fire near Vaughn.

July 23, 2014 7:00 amLoading…

Montana Guard sends helicopters, soldiers to help with fires

HELENA — The Montana Army National Guard sent 17 soldiers and two CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Washington state to support wildfire fighting o…

July 21, 2014 11:38 amLoading…

2 Wyoming air tankers in Boise to fight wildfires

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Two military air tankers from Wyoming are in Boise to help fight wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.

July 21, 2014 11:40 amLoading…

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Interactive: 2013 wildfires

Interactive: 2013 wildfires

An interactive showing active blazes and charting more than 50 years of wildfire devastation

July 01, 2013 7:06 amLoading…