Best of the West: All Oregon standoff defendants not guilty, millions of western homes in fire risk

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are western stories for the week starting Oct. 24, 2016, that you don't want to miss:

judgebrownjurorFederal Judge Anna BrownA federal jury on Thursday found Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and five co-defendants not guilty of conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs through intimidation, threat or force during the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the Oregonian reported. (Story)

The Los Angeles Times reported that "the defeat for the prosecution was especially unexpected because three of the seven defendants had chosen to represent themselves during the trial. Critics of the occupation said the verdict might embolden similar actions by right-wing anti-government groups in the future." (Story)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement that she respected the jury's verdict, even if she didn't agree. The Governor also expressed support for Burns, a town near the refuge that acted as ground zero as hundreds of people descended on the area earlier this year, as well as the communities of Harney County.

"The occupation of the Malheur refuge by outsiders did not reflect the Oregon way of respectfully working together to resolve differences," she said. (Story)

Wildfire Risk: A new report shows that nearly 2 million homes across 13 western states are at “extreme or high risk” of damage from wildfires, with a total cost to repair approaching $500 billion. See Western Governors' policies to help keep the region safe from wildfires here.

Milestone Beer Run: Uber’s self-driving truck has made its first delivery -- 50,000 beers in Colorado.

Deadly Parasite Spreads: The parasite that killed tens of thousands of fish and caused closures in the Yellowstone River this summer has been found in seven more Montana rivers.

Yellowstone Bison Genes: Researchers are transplanting embryos from Yellowstone National Park’s wild bison to help restore Minnesota herds.

See the previous Best of the West.

WGA just hosted the first webinar for the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative, the central policy effort of WGA Chair and Montana Governor Steve Bullock. Watch the webinar: Managing Electricity Reliability Risks on Forests and Rangeland.

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