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Volume XXV, Number 9

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kootenai Creek Fire Update

Fire lines hold on Kootenai fire

By Michael Howell

The fire lines containing the Kootenai Creek Fire west of Stevensville held in the face of strong winds this weekend. Fire activity, especially along the eastern edges, has also subsequently diminished. The Forest Service has already withdrawn some firefighters and equipment and, by the time you read this story, may have already lifted the Stage 1 Alert that was placed on some areas just east of the fire. More...

The Stage 1 Alert areas, in residential areas east of the Kootenai Creek Fire (shown in purple on the map), were tentatively scheduled to be lifted on Tuesday as milder cooler weather is predicted for the coming week.

The Forest Service has developed a new tool for disseminating fire information over the internet by overlaying the fire information onto landscape views available on Google Earth. Google Earth is an internet program that allows viewers to tour the landscape from any altitude and from any direction. The Forest Service site at allows a view with overlays showing the location and extent of the fire from beginning to end in progressive fashion. The viewer may also select a view that shows where fire control lines and dozer lines have been constructed, various jurisdictional lines, locations of structures at risk, closure areas and alert areas, and other points of interest. Management plans may also be called up as well as photographs. Several residents in the Kootenai Creek area have expressed great appreciation for the new information service.

Helicopter water drops played a major role in assisting ground crews in holding the fire lines along the east edge of the Kootenai Creek Fire as strong winds approached on Saturday.

Mental health issues plague county and state

By Michael Howell

Asked recently what the most pressing problem facing the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office might be, Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman did not hesitate to say it was dealing with the mentally ill. Sometimes the problem surfaces when people who have been arrested for one criminal offense or another show signs during incarceration of some form of mental disorder that poses a danger to the inmate or to others. At other times an officer may respond to a call and find that no crime has been committed and yet there are signs that an individual may be suffering from a mental disorder to such an extent that they appear to be in imminent danger of killing themselves or harming themselves or others due to a mental disorder. More...

Stevi School Board reprimands trustee

By Victoria Howell

The Stevensville School Board at a special meeting last week decided to send a letter of reprimand to trustee Patricia Wilson (also known as Patricia Meakin) after finding that official complaints about her behavior had merit. The complaints were lodged last June by Michael and Janet Hunter, parents of 2009 Stevensville High School Valedictorian Isaac Hunter, and the Stevensville Teachers Association. More...

Elk left to rot after antlers taken

By Michael Howell

Keith Marchuck, who leases pasture land on the Sapphire Tree Farm east of Stevensville, told the Bitterroot Star that the bodies of two dead elk with the antlers and skull caps removed were found on the property he leases from Jack Rupert. More...


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