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Small fire burning near Helena

(Helena)- Fire crews are working on a three-acre, lightning-caused wildland fire that is burning at the top of the Avalanche Gulch area, near Swede Gulch, on the Townsend Ranger District of the Helena National Forest.

The Avalanche-Butte Fire was last reported at three acres, actively burning in grass and open timber with some spotting and torching.

Several firefighters, three fire engines and two helicopters are currently assigned to the fire. The helicopters are providing air support and water-bucket drops on the fire. Additional Forest Service firefighters and fire engines are en route for suppression assistance.

Smoke may be visible to residents in Townsend, Helena and surrounding areas.


Fire has now burned 1300-acres on ID-MT border

(Sula)- KPAX TV is reporting a lightning-caused fire has now burned over 1300 acres in the rugged mountain country southeast of Sula.

The Indian Fire ignited from a storm that moved over the Bitterroot Divide on July 17th and is burning on lands controlled by the Salmon-Challis National Forest across the border in Idaho.

It's the largest fire in Western Montana this summer, in a year that's seen the fire danger suppressed by a long, wet start to summer.


New "one pot" meth cooking technique shows up in Montana

(HELENA)- Although "cooking" methamphetamine has been common throughout the Northwest for at least 20-years now, authorities continue to run across new techniques.

And now it looks like a new "one pot" method popular in the Southeast may have found it's way to Montana. At least that's what Forest Service officers think after making a discovery near Helena the other day. (KXLH photo)

KXLH's Melissa Anderson has been following the story.


85 Montana towns losing post offices in latest round of closures

85 small communities across Montana will lose their post offices under the latest list of closures released this morning by the U.S. Postal Service.

USPS has identified some 3700 post offices nationwide that it wants to close to save money. Most are in very small communities with only a few hundred people, but where post offices have been the centers of those towns for generations.

In Western Montana, the closure list includes stations in places like Helmville, Dixon and Elmo.

KPAX TV has more in this story.


Great Falls making safety changes after near drowning

(GREAT FALLS)- After nearly losing a 12-year old boy to drowning over the weekend, Great Falls park managers are taking steps to improve safety at the Electric City Water Park.

The unresponsive teen was spotted on the deep end of the pool by another girl coming off the water slide.

Erin Schmerle of KRTV reports the city is taking immediate measures to make sure it never happens again, such as moving lifeguard towers and improving visibility on the bottom of the pool. (KRTV photo)