Wildfires were once essential to the American West. Prairies and forests burned regularly, and those fires not only determined the mix of flora and fauna that made up the ecosystem, but they regenerated the land.
When people replaced wilderness with homes and ranches, they aggressively eliminated fire. But now, scientists are trying to bring fire back to the wilderness, to recreate what nature once did on its own.
One place they're doing this is Centennial Valley, in southwestern Montana.
To keep America's wilderness anything like it used to be when the country was truly wild takes the help of biologists. They have to balance the needs of wildlife with those of cattle-ranching and tourism, and even weigh the value of one species against another. Ultimately, they have to pick and choose who makes it onto the ark. And, as scientists in Montana's Centennial Valley have discovered, all that choosing can be tricky.
Dr. Karen Sciascia of Red Hill, Pa., has delivered thousands of babies in her career. But on a vacation to Montana this week, she helped deliver another life from danger, as she and her fishing guide saved a baby moose that was separated from its mother as they crossed a river.
The Department of Justice has reached an agreement with the University of Montana to resolve an investigation into the school's response to accusations of sexual harassment since 2009. The federal inquiry will continue to examine how Missoula city officials have handled such cases.
"The Justice Department started its investigation a year ago, following a string of reports of sexual assaults," reports NPR's Martin Kaste, for our Newscast Desk. "Female students said their complaints weren't taken seriously or followed up on properly."