Trailer burns, evacuations ordered as new wildfires spread
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A trailer has burned and about two dozen homes have been evacuated as aircraft dropped retardant to beat back a new fire burning north of Missoula.
KECI-TV reports the trailer’s resident is safe.
Lolo National Forest spokesman Boyd Hartwig says the fire is burning in the Colorado Gulch area about 4 miles north of Interstate 90.
Hartwig tells the Missoulian the retardant has helped keep the blaze in check.
Monday’s low humidity and gusting winds also caused the rapid spread of another new fire burning in northwestern Montana west of Lakeside.
There are between 75 and 100 homes and structures within a half-mile of the perimeter.
Early Monday morning, authorities ordered evacuations east of Thompson Falls after a fire doubled in size to nearly 11 square miles.
Judge says cultural studies in lease case are confidential
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered a Louisiana company not to disclose details of cultural studies conducted in an area near Glacier National Park where the company bought a disputed energy lease.
Solenex LLC of Baton Rouge wants to drill for oil and gas in northwest Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine area. The company wants U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to overturn a March decision by federal officials canceling its 6,200-acre lease.
The area is considered sacred by the Blackfoot tribes of the United States and Canada. Studies on its significance have been conducted since the 1990s.
Judge Richard Leon said in a Monday order that Solenex cannot disclose information from those studies as it pursues its lawsuit against the government. Attorneys for the government and Solenex had previously agreed to the restriction.
Missoula man flees probation for 2nd time in 2 months
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A man who was convicted of attempted murder 20 years ago has fled probation for the second time in less than two months.
Missoula County Sheriff’s Office officials say 39-year-old Chad Earl Williams cut a GPS monitoring device from his ankle on Sunday and his whereabouts are unknown.
A $100,000 warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Williams had been due to be sentenced on Wednesday after he fled probation the first time in June.
Then, Williams holed up inside a Bozeman home, armed with a 9 mm pistol. He gave himself up to authorities after speaking with negotiators for several hours.
Williams was convicted in 1996 of shooting a man three times while trying to rob him. Williams was sentence to 50 years in prison with 25 years suspended.
Video sheds light on stunt motorcyclist’s drowning
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say video filmed by a 19-year-old man who crashed while trying to ride a modified motorcycle across Canyon Ferry Lake has helped provide answers for authorities about his death.
Blake Becker, of Clancy, crashed July 23 as he tried to cross the lake east of Helena. His body was recovered from the reservoir about three weeks later.
The Independent Record reports video from a GoPro camera Becker had been wearing shows him attaching his life preserver to a rope connected to buoys intended to facilitate recovery of the bike from the water. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says the “fatal error” caused Becker to sink with his motorcycle after the engine lost power.
Becker had completed the stunt at least once before and was trying to replicate it at night.
Authorities ID 2 killed, 1 injured in crash near Livingston
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — The Park County Coroner’s Office has identified two people who died in a crash west of Livingston after the vehicle they were travelling in went off the road and crashed down a steep embankment.
Forty-eight-year-old Jacqueline Suff, of Bozeman, and 47-year-old David Simpson, of Livingston, died at the scene of the single-vehicle crash early Sunday.
A third person, 56-year-old Kim Hartrove, of Essex, United Kingdom, was ejected from the vehicle and taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
The Montana Highway Patrol says Simpson had been driving an SUV when he lost control of the vehicle near an intersection and crashed.
None of the occupants had been wearing seat belts.
The two deaths on Sunday brought the number of crash fatalities in Montana to 125 so far this year.
More disease testing planned for Yellowstone, tributaries
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife officials are conducting tests on fish from additional areas to see if they are infected with a disease blamed in a massive fish kill in the Yellowstone River.
State officials closed a 183-mile stretch of the Yellowstone to all recreational activities on Friday. The unprecedented move came after thousands of fish were killed by a disease spread by a microscopic parasite.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Andrea Jones says the agency is trying to determine how far the parasite has spread.
Agency personnel on Monday began collecting fish for testing downstream of Springdale. Testing also is planned on three Yellowstone tributaries — the Shields, Boulder and Stillwater Rivers.
A community meeting on the closure is set for Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Park County Fairgrounds in Livingston.