Blog Cabin

Libby man latest Montana drowning victim

(LIBBY)- A 23-year old Libby man has become Montana’s latest drowning victim, after being swept away in the frigid, churning waters of the Kootenai River.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department identifies the victim as Peter Votapka.

Deputies say a witness saw a young woman holding a black lab in thigh deep water, yelling for help as the dog pulled her back into the river at the Osprey boat ramp Thursday afternoon. The witness said he saw the woman go under several times before finally releasing the dog.

The witness was able to run down to the river, swim out and bring her back to shore safely. But deputies say she was upset, saying Votapka was in the river and she couldn’t find him.

Search and rescue teams recovered Votapka and he was taken to St. Johns Hospital but was pronounced dead a couple of hours later.


FWP posts warnings after Missoula woman has run-in with bear

(MISSOULA)- Wardens from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have posted warning signs near a popular Missoula hiking area after a woman was injured following a run-in with a mama bear.

FWP says the woman was injured Friday morning when she surprised the female black bear and her cubs on the Crazy Canyon Trail up Pattee Canyon east of Missoula.

The woman told authorities she was running down the trail around 8:30am when she spotted the bear in front of her. FWP says the woman immediately stopped, and began to back away when she noticed she’d come between the sow and her cubs. The bear approached and swiped at her and made contact, and the woman responded by speaking firmly and raising her arms to protect her face and make herself look larger.  The bear then made several advances towards her before both she and the bear backed away and left the scene.

The woman was treated for minor abrasions to her arms and chest and was released from the hospital later in the morning.

FWP Warden Captain, Jeff Darrah, says that the woman responded appropriately.

“When she realized that she was between the mom and her cubs and could not simply back away and leave the area, she did what she should have done to protect herself.”

FWP and the Forest Service have posted warning signs in the area to make sure visitors are aware of the bear activity in the area.


Blazing weekend ahead for Big Sky

(MISSOULA)- Mom Nature seems to want to make up for lost time, or at least repent for allowing the first half of summer to slip by.

Friday brought another warm and glorious day across Montana, pushing temperatures into the upper 80s and low 90s west of the Divide, and topping the century mark in a few spots in Eastern Montana.

West of the Divide, most highs Friday evening didn't break 90, although Stevensville managed to hit the mark for the warmest place on the Pacific side of the state.

In Southwest Montana, Twin Bridges and Ennis both hit 90, with Whitehall peaking at 93. Three Forks set the pace for the Gallatin, and was one of the warmest in the state at 98-degrees.

In Central Montana, Helena's thermometer hit 91 and it was 92-degrees in Great Falls.

90-plus readings were common everywhere in Eastern Montana, with Joliet taking Friday's Frying Pan award at 103.

The forecast calls for more of the same, and perhaps even warmer on Saturday and Sunday. west of the Divide temps should all be in the low 90s except for a few areas closest to water and 90s and 100s east of the Divide. A threat of showers might break the heat Sunday evening in the west.


Woman who led Kootenai "war" against U.S. government dies in Idaho

(BONNERS FERRY)- It was one of the more interesting and quixotic episodes in relations between the U.S. government and Native American tribes in the Northwest.

And now the last leader behind what is considered the last "war" by a tribe against Washington, D.C. is dead at the age of 75.

The CDAPress is reporting Amelia Trice has passed away in Bonners Ferry, losing her fight against cancer.

Trice and others were behind the 1974 uprising when the Kootenai Tribe declared a non-violent war against the U.S. as a means of securing reservation land. At one point in September that year, the tribe started charging motorists a dime "toll" to cross the river, where they had set up informational pickets. Eventually, President Gerald Ford signed an order granting the tribe 12-acres just outside of town.


Crews battling small fire in Garnet Mountains 

(GARRISON)-Further evidence it's getting dry out there.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are working to extinguish a wildland fire located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ground in a Wildlife Study Area near Windy Rock Mountain in the Garnet Mountains.

Fifty-three personnel are cutting fire line around the 8 acre wildfire located in extremely rough terrain in beetle-kill timber. 

The fire was detected yesterday around 4pm and crews were there within two hours.  Engine crews from the DNRC and two DNRC initial attack helicopters were able to safely stop the fire Thursday night.  The Ridge Runners, a State Department of Corrections 20-person crew, worked on the fire throughout Thursday night and into Friday morning. The Flathead Hotshots and a six-person IA module from the Pintler Ranger District arrived later in the morning to help out. The crews are assisting three DNRC engine crews on the fire.

The cause remains unknown but more than likely the fire is a lightning holdover from a couple days ago.