Montana wildfire forces evacuations
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A wildfire burning south of Billings has destroyed a home and a garage and forced people out of their homes.
The fire began Friday afternoon and scorched 2 square miles by Saturday.
According to the Billings Gazette , residents around the Duck Creek area remained evacuated.
The fire started in wheat fields and crossed over the Yellowstone River Friday night.
Authorities said firefighting efforts were hampered by someone flying a drone aircraft that interfered with firefighting aircraft.
Authorities say they captured the drone and are investigating.
State, federal officials come to dedicate Libby dam
LIBBY, Mont. (AP) — City, state and federal officials attended the dedication of the Flower Creek Dam to celebrate the completion of the structure in Libby.
The Daily Inter Lake reports that dam, which is 74 feet high and 320 feet across, was completed earlier this year but had its official dedication Wednesday.
The dam was built after the Department of Natural resources and Conservation discovered in 2009 that the original structure was on the verge of collapse if an earthquake occurred. The new dam cost $11.5 million and included fixing Libby’s leaking water distribution project.
Libby Mayor Doug Roll thanked all who worked on the project at the dedication. Other officials in attendance included Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation John Tubbs, Lad Barney of Rural Development and contractors who built the dam.
Search underway for biker who tried stunt across reservoir
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Rescue crews are searching for a 19-year-old man who disappeared in the Canyon Ferry Reservoir after trying to ride a modified dirt bike across the water.
The Billings Gazette reports crews on jet skis and boats did not find any signs of Blake Becker or his dirt bike Sunday. The search for the Clancy man, who disappeared in the water late Saturday, is now considered a recovery effort.
Lewis and Clark County sheriff’s Capt. Jason Grimmis says Becker had attempted to ride from the east shore to the west shore when he went down near Cemetery Island, where the water is about 140 feet deep.
A Montana Highway Patrol aircraft and sonar equipment have been used to aid the search efforts.
Becker had reportedly been wearing a life vest.
New biohazard facility to test Wyoming wildlife
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — An important addition to the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory is under way for a biohazard facility, focusing on some nasty diseases that can be found in Wyoming wildlife, like the plague and rabies.
Director William Laegreid says a biosafety level 3 laboratory operated under the supervision of the University of Wyoming will allow veterinarians to keep the main facility from having to shut down when an animal shows up with a serious disease.
When that happens, people have to put on special suits and decontaminate the laboratory before routine work can resume.
According to the Laramie Boomerang , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still has to give its approval before the new laboratory can become operational.
Dog being used to protect wildlife in Glacier National Park
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — The dog bark patrol is on the job at Glacier National Park, notifying wildlife managers and herding mountain goats and bighorn sheep to keep them away from strangers.
Officials say the wild animals are attracted to salt that drips off vehicles, and they pose a danger to people in parking lots who could get too close and provoke an attack.
Rangers tried using shotguns with non-lethal ammunition, sirens and whips, but they say dogs are better. The canines are already being used in other parks to keep the peace between humans and wildlife.
Glacier natural resource program manager Mark Biel says a dog named Gracie has been trained not to come in contact with the wild animals and to avoid hazing or harassing the wildlife.
Montana ranch dispute with federal government settled
LEWISTOWN, Mont. (AP) — A dispute between the owners of a Montana ranch company and the federal government has been settled.
Wilks Ranch Montana Ltd. has agreed to rehabilitate land that it fenced off and that destroyed trees, and will reimburse the Bureau of Land Management about $70,000 to cover costs for the inquiry and a survey.
The fence was built at the NBar Ranch in Fergus County in the Durfee Hills.
The Bureau of Land Management surveyed nine miles of a new fence and said about a third of it was on federal land. The survey was ordered after elk hunters complained.
Ranch spokesman Darryl James says the portion of the fence that was encroaching on federal land has been moved and the issue has been resolved.