Best of the West: Montana burns through firefighting budget, nuclear waste adding up in New Mexico, rare sighting of endangered ferrets

Wildfires, The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting September 11, 2017, that you don't want to miss. Photo: Los Alamos Daily Post

The summer fire season should be winding down, but wildfires continue to burn across the West. Montana has depleted its budgeted firefighting funds while hundreds of thousands of acres continue to burn. While rain and snow could be on the horizon for parts of the state, pre-evacuations and evacuation notices are still in place for others. Gov. Steve Bullock has requested federal aid, and this week the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved disaster assistance for three large fires in the state.

In Oregon thousands of acres have been scorched, and the state issued a nationwide call for firefighting instructors to train additional National Guardsmen to battle the blazes. This week, Oregon police arrested a man suspected of starting four or more of the fires in the state.

Nuclear Milestone: The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico received its 50th shipment since reopening this spring, marking a milestone for the nuclear waste storage facility. The WIPP receives three or four shipments of transuranic waste per week, but experts warn that the repository is already running out of space and could be filled to capacity by 2026

Free Range Ferrets: For the first time in more than 35 years, wild-born black footed ferrets were spotted in Wyoming, a promising sign that conservation efforts to save the species are working.

Oklahoma will soon be home to a $435 million wind farm for Anheuser-Busch. The project, expected to employ 400 people during construction, will support the brewer’s parent company in its goal to secure all of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025.

Harvey and Irma Update: More than $350 million has been raised to support victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Now, residents are assessing the estimated $75 billion in damage and determining how to rebuild. In the eastern U.S., the devastation of Hurricane Irma is still being calculated. For a link on how you can support victims of recent natural disasters, visit this edition of Best of the West.  

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