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By Bebe Crouse
The Nature Conservancy 

Tackling the risk of wildland fire


© The Nature Conservancy

A crew of multiple partners preparing for a prescribed burn.

By the calendar, Montana has four seasons. Yet, increasingly, we are experiencing a fifth; fire season. As July draws to a close, a lot of us are starting to think what might be ahead as temperatures soar and our forests become increasingly dry. The Seeley Lake community won't soon forget the smoky summer of 2017 when the fire drove folks from town and shuttered businesses and schools – straining nerves, health and the local economy.

The forests make the community beautiful but can also put it at risk. Many of these forests actually need to burn to remain healthy. The problem is that some...

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