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This Hour: Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment

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WILDFIRES

Small wildfires keep Montana firefighters busy

(AP) -_ Firefighters attacked and monitored several wildfires around Montana over the weekend.

The Shoestring Fire on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest was 50 percent contained after it was spotted Friday and burned 15-20 acres. Firefighters also quickly contained a nearby, smaller spot fire.

The Lodge Grass Basin fire in the Bighorn Mountains of the Crow Reservation did not grow over the weekend after burning about 165 acres since last Tuesday. Firefighters could only drop water from helicopters because the inaccessible terrain.

In Treasure County, firefighters and others contained a wildfire that broke out Saturday afternoon between Interstate 94 and the Yellowstone River. It burned about 500 acres.

A fire burning southwest of Hamilton in the Bitterroot Mountains grew to 40 acres Sunday.

Another small fire was burning northwest of Helena.

YELLOWSTONE TRAFFIC

Yellowstone finds traffic safety violations

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - Yellowstone National Park rangers issued 10 citations and arrested four people for various traffic safety violations last month.

Rangers conducted traffic safety checkpoints in the park on three days in June, looking for traffic violations, safety violations and impaired drivers.

They made contact with 328 drivers.

Violations cited by rangers included driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

FUR FARM

Bobcat fur farm looks to move from ND to Montana

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - The owners of a commercial bobcat fur farm are looking to relocate from the bustling oilfield region in western North Dakota to a quieter area in central Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is taking public comments on the proposed 150-foot-by-140-foot animal facility where bobcats would be housed in separate pens inside the facility near Roy in Fergus County.

Larry Schultz, who owns the business with his wife, says the facility would raise bobcats for their furs, which would be sold in the commercial fur industry worldwide.

Schultz tells the Great Falls Tribune that bobcat fur is used for trim, hats and coats in some countries.

Schultz says noise and dust from oil drilling near their farm in western North Dakota isn't good for raising bobcats.

GLACIER-BEAR ENCOUNTER

Texas hiker involved in bear encounter in Montana

WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) - National Park Service rangers are searching for a bear wounded in an encounter with a hiker in Glacier National Park.

The agency says the encounter occurred Saturday morning on the Mt. Brown Lookout Trail on the west side of the park in Montana.

A 57-year-old hiker from Texas says he was hiking alone when a bear charged him from an area below the trail.

The hiker deployed his bear spray and then discharged one round of his handgun. The bear ran away.

The hiker, whose name was not released, wasn't hurt.

It's not known whether a grizzly or black bear was involved. Park rangers found evidence that the bear was wounded.

The trail has been closed until further notice while rangers search for the bear.

BITTERROOT DROWNING

3-year-old dies in Bitterroot River accident

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A 3-year-old Stevensville boy is dead after a rafting accident in the Bitterroot River in Ravalli County.

Sheriff Chris Hoffman says the boy was on an inflatable raft with his father and 6-year-old brother around 3 p.m. Friday when the raft hit a log jam and flipped over, tossing them into the river.

The father and older brother surfaced, but the young boy was trapped underneath the jam.

Hoffman says the father extricated the boy from the jam and began CPR.

The boy was taken to Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, but was pronounced dead early Saturday morning.

Hoffman attributed the death to drowning.

The boy's name is being withheld until all family has been notified.

BLACKFEET-BISON

Tribes bring bison plan to legislative panel

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Blackfoot Confederacy tribal members say they want to bring free-ranging bison back to their land just east of the Northern Rockies in Montana and Canada.

Tribal members of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Montana and Canada have told a Montana legislative panel they want to work with them to make it happen.

Intertribal Buffalo Council President Ervin Carlson of the Blackfeet Tribe told the State-Tribal Relations Committee that the group behind the initiative is taking the process slowly. Carlson says they want to engage in a lot of dialogue and hope to avoid the recent controversy surrounding the relocation of bison from Yellowstone National Park.

Carlson says restoring bison to the reservation would also help restore a big part of the Blackfoot history and culture.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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