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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

MT earmarks millions to cooperate on reducing wildfire threat

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Thursday, April 4, 2024   

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has awarded $3.1 million for 13 projects to reduce wildfire risk to communities and improve forest health.

The funding money is part of the $15 million Montana Forest Action Plan, which takes a big-picture approach to reducing the risk of wildfires.

Wyatt Frampton, deputy division administrator of forestry and trust lands for the Montana Department of Natural Resources, said the money will be used to foster fire-management cooperation between state and private landowners across 3,200 acres of forest.

"Through a variety of activities, such as prescribed fire, logging, mechanical thinning, hand activities as well as tree planting," Frampton outlined.

The 13 most recent restoration projects are spread across the state, including in Lewis and Clark County, the Bitterroot and the South Swan Valley.

Frampton said the DNR is aiming to create a cohesive fire-reduction plan across Montana's landscape, which has until now been inconsistent because of different sets of land-management practices.

"Right now when we see a patchwork of treatments across some of the landscapes in the state, from a fire-management perspective, it doesn't create a clean or effective barrier for trying to stop the fire in that area," Frampton explained. "Where, if we had a cohesive landscape-level treatment, that would help."

Frampton added having a statewide cohesive fire-management plan would also allow the DNR and other agencies to slow the spread of potentially destructive insects in Montana's forests.


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