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The Mullen Fire

Fire managers face daunting challenges despite boost in funding

Apr 26, 2022

New federal funding may help with forest and wildfire management, but there are still hurdles. Increasing firefighter wages still can’t always contend with skyrocketing housing costs and burnout from long seasons. Funds may also help pay for supplies, but supply chain issues still make certain supplies hard to get.

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Wildfire smoke and smog make air pollution a growing problem out West

Apr 20, 2022

The Mountain West is known for big blue skies. But several cities here are among the nation’s worst for short-term air pollution levels, according to a new American Lung Association study. Wildfire smoke is an increasing factor, but so is smog from growing cities across the region.

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Interior resumes oil and gas leases on public lands, raises royalty rates

Apr 19, 2022

The Interior Department is reopening lease sales on public lands. However, the agency announced that it was 80% less acreage than the oil and gas industry nominated for leasing. The Interior also increased royalty rates.

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wildfire

Colorado wildfire demonstrates the end of ‘wildfire seasons,’ beginning of year-round fire

Mar 28, 2022

A seasonal break from wildfires is disappearing in the West. A wildfire started this Saturday near Boulder, Colorado. It forced thousands of evacuations over the weekend, reminding people of what had just happened 3 months ago: the Marshall Fire, which burned down more than 1,000 homes. Experts say there are no longer fire seasons, just fire years.

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 Northern long-eared bat with visible symptoms of white-nose syndrome.

Mountain West bats face increasing pressure from deadly fungal infection

Mar 25, 2022
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered. The bat’s populations are being decimated by a fungal infection called white nose syndrome. While these bats only touch Montana and Wyoming in our region, they could spread this fungus to other hibernating bats in the Mountain West.
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Wyoming app helps residents salvage roadkill

Wyoming app helps residents salvage roadkill

Mar 18, 2022

It’s legal to pick up roadkill for food in most of the Mountain West (Nevada excluded). You generally just have to get a permit, and now Wyoming is making that especially easy to do. In that state, you can get a permit via an app, called Wyoming 511. However, if you want to take part of the animal for food, you’ll need to take the entire animal with you.

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The Mountain West has the nation’s highest inflation rate

Jan 19, 2022

Inflation is the highest the nation’s seen since the 1980s. It’s worst in the Mountain West. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices increased 8.6% in our region, the highest nationally.

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The Mountain West has the nation’s highest inflation rate

Jan 19, 2022
Inflation is the highest the nation’s seen since the 80s. It’s worst in the Mountain West. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices increased 8.6% in our region, the highest nationally.
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 Patrick Donnelly takes a photograph of a trespassing cow in Gold Butte National Monument in southern Nevada.

Why won't Biden touch the Bundys?

Jan 18, 2022

The Biden administration has moved to crack down on violent domestic extremists over the past year. But it's given the Bundy family — whose militant actions presaged the Capitol insurrection, and who continue to illegally graze cattle on public lands — a pass.

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 Zoo Boise staff administering COVID-19 vaccinations to goats at the Zoo Farm.

Zoos continue to vaccinate animals against COVID-19

Jan 17, 2022

Big cats like lions are susceptible to COVID-19. So are mink and some hoofed animals, like deer. So many zoos are using a vaccine specifically made for animals to try and keep their often-endangered residents healthy.

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Tips up: After some bumps, Colorado chairlift maker is on the upswing

Jan 07, 2022

Most industries faced a slump at the beginning of the pandemic, and that included the companies that make chairlifts. But they’ve made a big comeback as people return to ski resorts.

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Tips up: After some bumps, Colorado chairlift maker is on the upswing

Jan 07, 2022
Most industries faced a slump at the beginning of the pandemic, and that included the companies that make chairlifts. But they’ve made a big comeback as people return to ski resorts.
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Biden pledges $1 billion to help small and mid-size meat processors

Jan 05, 2022

The Biden administration announced Monday it would use $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan to help small and independent meat processors. 

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Census data shows the Mountain West added 351,000 new residents during pandemic

Jan 04, 2022

Population growth in the Mountain West has surged during the pandemic, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Some backcountry rescue groups see increase in calls

Dec 22, 2021

More and more people headed into the backcountry this year – and many rescue groups have seen an increase in calls. That puts pressure on volunteers who help respond to emergencies.

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Idaho experiment that showed nuclear power was more than a weapon turns 70 years old

Dec 20, 2021

70 years ago, experimenters first proved that nuclear power could be used as more than just a weapon.

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COVID vaccines for kids are coming – and so is more misinformation

Nov 05, 2021

Experts expect another wave of misinformation from anti-vaccine activists and conspiracy theorists with the FDA's approval of Pfizer's vaccine for kids aged 5 to 11. That could include misleading and graphic articles and videos claiming severe side effects intended to sow doubt.

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 A U.S. Forest Service truck drives along a dirt road in the Albion Mountains in southern Idaho.

A prescribed burn in Idaho shows why good fire requires good neighbors

Oct 15, 2021

Wildfire season is winding down across much of the Mountain West as cold weather moves in. But it’s the perfect time to set controlled, or prescribed, fires to burn unwanted dead trees and underbrush that fuel larger wildfires.

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U.S. household growth slows, but it's a mixed bag for the Mountain West

Oct 14, 2021

A Pew Research analysis of census data shows that growth in U.S. households during the last decade slowed to its lowest pace in history.

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How Indigenous land acknowledgements can sanitize the trauma of dispossession

Oct 13, 2021

Many institutions acknowledge that land they've built upon once belonged to Native peoples, but experts say some well-intentioned statements can actually do harm.

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A Supreme Court case could have big implications for Western groundwater

Oct 05, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a complicated groundwater case this week, which could have implications for the Mountain West. The case involves Mississippi alleging that Tennessee takes too much water from an aquifer that runs beneath both states. Several western states have argued against the suit, not wanting to further complicate water law among the states.

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SCOTUS case could have big implications for Western groundwater

Oct 05, 2021
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a complicated groundwater case this week, which could have implications for the Mountain West. The case involves Mississippi alleging that Tennessee takes too much water from an aquifer that runs beneath both states. Several western states have argued against the suit, not wanting to further complicate water law between their states.
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Google Maps to show wildfire locations, emergency contacts

Oct 01, 2021

Google Maps will soon launch a new filter that shows the location of active wildfires. Beyond just mapping fires, it will also provide local emergency information when available.

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Amtrak Derailment Sent Patients To Already Packed Hospitals

Sep 27, 2021

An Amtrak train derailment in rural north-central Montana on Sunday killed three people and sent several passengers to far-flung hospitals, further burdening ICUs full of COVID-19 patients.

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Hydropower Dips During Western Drought

Sep 24, 2021

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that there was a 14% dip in hydropower in the U.S. this year. The vast majority of that decline is in the West. Less moisture and higher temps meant lower reservoir levels and decreased the ability to get energy from hydro dams. While utilities have long prepared for droughts, they’re becoming more frequent due to climate change.

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