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Comment Archives: stories: News: News

Re: “What Roaring Lion revealed about climate change and wildfire

Thanks for the correction and feedback, Matthew and Larry. We've appended the "legal challenges prevented logging" correction to the online version of the story, and will include that correction in next week's print edition. Brad Tyer, editor

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by bradtyer on 07/27/2017 at 4:50 PM

Re: “What Roaring Lion revealed about climate change and wildfire

Also, it would've been nice to see a little more balanced perspective in today's cover story about the Roaring Lion fire. Plenty of scientists who are actually studying/researching wildfires would have taken exception to lots of what Finney said.

But the article REQUIRES a correction for stating:

"The day the Roaring Lion fire started, the weather was exceptionally hot, with strong winds blowing down the canyon. The forest was dry. The Forest Service had proposed thinning the area, but legal challenges prevented logging, so the forest was dense with fuel."

This false statement was reported a bunch last summer as well, and all the media outlets, like Montana Public Radio, were forced to run a correction. See:…

Here is also some more information I passed around last year. As you can clearly see below, the USFS said logging wasn't set to begin until Winter 2016 (after the July 2016 fire) and that it would take 5 to 10 years to complete.

Plus, the logging lawsuit was filed by a homeowner in the area who was upset because his wife has heath issues and the USFS wanted to build some new roads around his property. Oh, and that guy who filed the lawsuit owns a wood products company.


For whatever it's worth, in this official FAQ sheet from the Bitterroot National Forest about the "West Side Collaborative Vegetation Management Project" the Forest Service clearly states the project was not set to begin until this winter and that implementation would take 5 to 10 years.

Here's the source:

And here's the official U.S. Forest Service response:

"Implementation: When would work begin? When would it end? The project contains several components which would be implemented over a 5-10 year period, most likely beginning the winter of 2016. The timber sale component, including road construction and timber harvesting, would likely occur over 3-4 years. Other proposed activities, including non-commercial thinning, aspen and habitat enhancement, prescribed burning, and road decommissioning, would most likely occur over the next few years following completion of the timber sale."

The lawsuit filed by the individual who owns a home and property directly adjacent to this proposed timber sale is a fascinating read. The homeowner is making some serious allegations against the U.S. Forest Service, especially concerning the alleged lack of any sort of meaningful 'collaboration' on the part of the U.S. Forest Service. It even appears as if the USFS ignored the property owners initial request for information, which seems amazing considering that the USFS was looking to build a road through his land, if I understand the circumstances correction.

I do have to point out that it's entirely false to claim that the lawsuit filed by the property owner 'stopped' or even 'stalled' the timber sale since the article claims that the judge hasn't ruled at all in terms of granting any type of injunction. Hopefully MTPR can dig into this issue deeper and make a issue a correction if it turns out that, in fact, the judge hasn't ruled and hasn't issued any type of injunction, which is the only thing that can stop or stall a logging project. Thanks.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 07/27/2017 at 9:02 AM

Re: “What Roaring Lion revealed about climate change and wildfire

It's somewhat ironic that this article is about the HUMAN CAUSED Roaring Lion Fire, but instead of focusing on the human caused nature of the fire, it just focuses on climate change.

While I understanding that the climate is changing and getting warmer and that fire seasons are getting longer, new scientific research, which was well-reported on earlier this year (but perhaps not well-reported in Montana), found that human carelessness is far more responsible than climate change for increasing the fire season in the lower 48 states, from 154 days to 46 days). Here's the link to the actual study:…

Here's a snip from a recent article (

"Human carelessness is doing far more than climate change to worsen wildfire damage and raise the budget-straining costs of suppression across the United States, new research concludes.

While the shift to warmer and drier climate regimes seems to have lengthened the season for forest and grassland fire by a couple of weeks over the past three decades, scientists found, fires directly traceable to human ignition form a fire season in the lower 48 that is now three times longer than the period of natural, lightning-caused fires (154 days versus 46).

And while human-caused fires accounted for less than half of the acreage that burned during a study period from 1992 through 2012, they now make up the great bulk of all wildfires 84 percent and have extended the geography where fire is common into a lot of new territory, from the Southeast to the northern Great Plains, including northern Minnesota."

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 07/27/2017 at 9:01 AM

Re: “What Roaring Lion revealed about climate change and wildfire

Giving Finney the space to spread his propaganda unchallenged is also irresponsible, but fortunately he discredits himself without help when he says, "There is a common misconception that wilderness areas were completely wild before European contact. "That's not true," Finney said. "There were millions and millions of Native Americans here, living in this environment and manipulating it. There is no such a thing as wilderness." What a ridiculous statement! Of course there is wilderness, even with the millions and millions of non-native Americans here. His statement is far to broad to be considered fair or factual. Finney is using his turn on the bully pulpit to share his personal opinions unchallenged by balanced reporting or facts to the contrary. If he wants to rein it in and limit his comments to say that the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness had been subjected to human caused fire for centuries before it was designated Wilderness, then, yes, that is true. But his ridiculously overstated claims are due to blindly jumping into the deep end of a philosophical school of thought that is meant to subvert wilderness protection by claiming there isn't anyplace that is untouched by man. That is a strawman argument, and beside the point. Wilderness advocates, like myself, do not claim there is any untouched place on earth, especially in the age of climate change.

1 like, 11 dislikes
Posted by Larry Campbell on 07/27/2017 at 8:43 AM

Re: “What Roaring Lion revealed about climate change and wildfire

Irresponsible and uninformed reporting. The statement, "but legal challenges prevented logging", is false. The reporter either wanted to add some conflict to the story to add drama or swallowed some disinformation that is easily disprovable with some due diligence. The Forest Supervisor has denied that the litigation caused delay of logging on several occasions. Even a correction at this point will not have the legs that this fake news will have. There is plenty drama built in to this story without needing to feed the fire of controversy over timber sale litigation.

1 like, 13 dislikes
Posted by Larry Campbell on 07/27/2017 at 8:18 AM

Re: “How Montana's muddled marijuana law put providers and patients at risk—and how to fix it

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1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by mama nana on 07/25/2017 at 2:00 PM

Re: “Taking the red pill at an expo in Bozeman

Glad to hear you won the first-ever Red Pill Goose Egg Award! I invite you to attend next year's event and perhaps report the truth.

Posted by MontanaVoter01 on 07/25/2017 at 10:14 AM

Re: “Lost son found

He loved Nietzsche. Anyone who understands this, understands that he possibly, even probably, went in with no intention of coming out: he had had enough of the modern world.

This is not dishonorable. He made a decision and carried it out, a soldier to the last. And if he had intended to come out, perishing by accident, he still deserves respect for his daring - and his depth.

Posted by Marshall Lentini on 07/23/2017 at 5:51 PM

Re: “French professor Michel Valentin, a leader of la résistance, takes a buyout at UM

"Critical Theory" - and there it is. Of course a Marxist wants to reshape education to center around his subject. Marxists always want to be at the center of the damn universe and envy the power of others. And look at how in one motion he criticizes the horrid little Capitalists while scooping the coins of his care package off of his own perfectly bourgeois table. At least one Marxist hypocrite has been ousted from his cushy job corrupting the youth.

4 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by Garret Morrill on 07/21/2017 at 11:42 PM

Re: “French professor Michel Valentin, a leader of la résistance, takes a buyout at UM

Imagine any business trying to eliminate its most experienced members. How could it thrive?

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by M Sad on 07/21/2017 at 7:27 PM

Re: “How Montana's muddled marijuana law put providers and patients at risk—and how to fix it

Thanks for this article!
As an aside, your final scenario depends on an extension of the Rohrabacher amendment, which may or may not happen. Jeff Sessions has already requested its repeal in a letter to lawmakers. Currently it is only in effect til September 2017 and is renewed annually as part of congressional spending bills. Congress this year simply gave an 6 month extension to the last spending bill written in the democrat controlled House of Reps, so there is a significant chance the new spending bill will have substantial changes. Deletion of Rohrabacher's amendment may or may not be one of those changes.

Posted by Jason on 07/21/2017 at 12:15 AM

Re: “Mountain Line gets a Zero Fare extension

If this program is TOO SUCCESSFUL, expect pushback. After WWII, fearing a drastic drop in profitability, General Motors and one of the big tire companies -- either Goodyear or Firestone, as I recall -- systematically bought up urban and interurban streetcar and bus lines and deliberately mismanaged them to run them into the ground and bankruptcy, leaving virtually no choice for the public but private car ownership.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by alf on 07/20/2017 at 1:15 PM

Re: “Can Congress solve the Forest Service's wildfire funding conundrum?

Much as I hate to give credit to any member of the idaho kongressional delegation for anything good, I think mike simpleton is right on this one.

But like our failed health care system, which emphasizes treatment rather than prevention, one of the biggest problems facing wildland firefighting -- besides a warming and probably drying climate and arguable/questionable unnatural fuel buildups due to a century of overly aggressive wildland fire control -- is development in the urban-wildland interface, which virtually no tax-greedy county commissioners are willing to admit, much less address.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by alf on 07/20/2017 at 12:56 PM

Re: “French professor Michel Valentin, a leader of la résistance, takes a buyout at UM

Higher education needs more people like professor Valentin, not fewer.

17 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by alf on 07/20/2017 at 12:32 PM

Re: “Commissioners will take a second look at the sheriff's overtime budget

Is it more cost-effective to just keep paying overtime? I wonder if that's cheaper than hiring a new officer and paying payroll taxes for them and giving them benefits. When you factor 2 to 3 officers in...well, I'd like to see some numbers on that, and I'd imagine the commissioners would as well.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Greg Strandberg on 07/20/2017 at 11:23 AM

Re: “Mountain Line gets a Zero Fare extension

I'd appreciate it if more buses ran later, and also ran on Sunday/holidays.

I feel many riders would be happy to pay a quarter for a ride if we'd direct the money to those things.

Many of us work on Sundays or late at night. Many of us that do so don't have cars.

Why are the buses mostly catering to the 9-to-5 crowd?

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Greg Strandberg on 07/20/2017 at 11:21 AM

Re: “French professor Michel Valentin, a leader of la résistance, takes a buyout at UM

Of course he won't be replaced - he's irreplaceable.

18 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Frank O. File on 07/20/2017 at 10:46 AM

Re: “At UM, the future is in cherry wood lockers

Privately funded and not part of the UM budget. That's such a huge point that critics always miss that deflates these arguments so fast.

Also I suppose I understand the snark from the author since football is an easy target however one should step back and consider a few things. First off athletics is usually the first way many prospective students are introduced to a school, so it would seem beneficial to have strong programs. Secondly football, and athletics as a whole has a better GPA and a higher graduation rate than the general student body, so this group as a whole is excelling on campus. Finally football in particular earns enough profit to pay for every other sports financial shortfall. Unlike most/many things on campus at the university of Montana athletics as a whole, mostly supported by football, is running "in the black". Shouldn't that actually be something to be proud of rather than to attack?

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Brint Wahlberg on 07/18/2017 at 8:03 AM

Re: “At UM, the future is in cherry wood lockers

Priority #1 the Griz players comforts, as we say in Iowa "pig shit". The number of salaries and lower costs for all students that would have been affected by that amount of money is staggering. By the way, I don't care who paid for it, it is a slap in the face to those educators and staff laid off by budget issues.

7 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Julie Morris Howard on 07/14/2017 at 1:39 PM

Re: “At UM, the future is in cherry wood lockers

How many salaries would that expensive building to coddle our little darlings paid? Makes my blood boil.

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Julie Morris Howard on 07/14/2017 at 1:37 PM

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