PNS Daily Newscast UPDATE - October 17, 2019 

Congressman Elijah Cummings has died. Also on the rundown: President Trump puts some distance between himself and policy on Syria. South Dakota awaits a SCOTUS ruling on the insanity defense, plus the focus remains on election security for 2020.

2020Talks - October 17, 2019 

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, two members of the Squad, endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders. Plus, some candidates are spending more than they're raising.

Daily Newscasts

Fighting MT Fires Before They Start

March 30, 2007

Big wild fires are often blamed on not enough prevention - like thinning trees, clearing underbrush, and creating defensible areas near homes, towns and private property. Yet there is a plan to cut funding for the State Fire Assistance program, which focuses on prevention. Chris Mehl is with The Wilderness Society in Bozeman.

"It actually is a very cost-effective program that's designed to stop small fires from becoming larger, then very expensive to control."

Mehl says state foresters estimate that investment in wildland fire preparedness and protection should be increased 85 percent, not reduced. The budget cuts are part of a wide range of plans for less funding for the U.S. Forest Service. Cutting the program now is bad timing because there's a perfect storm brewing for a nasty fire season.

"In light of all the drought that we've had and the forecast for the coming summer, it could be a very dicey summer and this money is well-needed."

More information is available online at

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MT