Firefight! ...With Flaming Ping-Pong Balls

flaming ping pong ballsHelicopters dropped 16,000 flaming ping-pong balls and ignited a long swath along the Magruder Corridor Road to keep the Gold Pan fire from growing in the wilderness west of Darby.

The 16,412-acre fire reported no significant growth in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness except for the roughly 350 acres intentionally burned during the aerial operation.

“We’ll have a night shift patrolling tonight to make sure it stays south of the road,” fire information officer Dixie Dies said Wednesday. “They’re calling for dry lightning and significant winds on Thursday, so we’re going to give it a couple of days before we’re done with it.”

The Missoulian

Firefight! ...With Flaming Ping-Pong Balls

flaming ping pong ballsHelicopters dropped 16,000 flaming ping-pong balls and ignited a long swath along the Magruder Corridor Road to keep the Gold Pan fire from growing in the wilderness west of Darby.

The 16,412-acre fire reported no significant growth in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness except for the roughly 350 acres intentionally burned during the aerial operation.

“We’ll have a night shift patrolling tonight to make sure it stays south of the road,” fire information officer Dixie Dies said Wednesday. “They’re calling for dry lightning and significant winds on Thursday, so we’re going to give it a couple of days before we’re done with it.”

The Missoulian

No Pot of Gold at the End of this Rainbow

Rainbow Family Montana

Consider them a very expensive houseguest.

The Rainbow Family came to Montana for only a few weeks this summer, but they cost Beaverhead County more than $250,000.

Local leaders are hoping to recoup most of that money — thanks to Gov. Steve Bullock’s July 1 executive order making county expenses related to the gathering eligible for state reimbursement.

About 10,000 people attended the week-long camp-out held near Jackson in July, though thousands of Rainbow people lingered in southwest Montana for about a month. The loosely affiliated members say they’re dedicated to peace and community; they have one large gathering each year.

The county is in the final stages of auditing its expenses, which total $262,982. The bill will be reduced by a two-mill levy of $27,042, and $3,106 of emergency funds that the county had on hand when the Rainbows arrived. That means the county will ask the state for about $232,834.

Beaverhead County Disaster and Emergency Coordinator David Marx is optimistic about the outcome.

MORE>>> Billings Gazette 

Thief of Dr Seuss "Lorax" Apprehended in Montana

Lorax in MontanaA Grinch who stole a beloved statue from the widow of Dr. Seuss in California more than a year ago remorsefully turned himself in to the Bozeman Police Department last week.

Detective Robert Vanuka said he didn't quite know what to think when a 22-year-old man came into the police station on Aug. 15 and said he stole the Lorax.

Was he talking about the beloved 1971 children's book? Or maybe a DVD copy of the 2012 movie?

“No, I took the Lorax statue,” the man told Vanuka.

MORE>>>Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Wild Bison Back at Fort Belknap After 100 Years

Montana bison

Genetically pure bison are back at the Fort Belknap Reservation after a century’s absence.

Fish and Wildlife released 34 wild bison free of cattle genes to hoots and hollers from about 150 people who gathered Thursday to watch.

“It’s a great day for Indians and Indian Country,” said Mark Azure, who heads the tribe’s bison program, moments after the final two big bulls rumbled out of a trailer and trotted away onto the prairie.

Soon, members of the herd were just brown specks on the horizon.

The bison were transported from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Last year, state Fish, Wildlife and Parks transplanted 70 bison from Yellowstone National Park to Fort Peck, with the plan being to transport half of those to Fort Belknap. Yellowstone animals are remnants of pure bison that once roamed the entire state.

Great Falls Tribune