In this week’s podcast, freelance journalist and former wildland firefighter Amanda Eggert joins us from Bozeman to discuss her recent three-part series for Montana Free Press, Living With Fire.

While the 2019 fire season is off to a slow start due to unseasonably cool and wet weather, the city of Helena is watching as firefighters battle the North Hills fire, which has burned more than 4,000 acres and prompted the evacuation of more than 400 homes.

Eggert’s series explores the evolution of wildfire suppression, the role land-use planning can play in limiting property damage from wildfire, and the rise of the private firefighting industry. Says Eggert, “There’s an economic inequality aspect to [the private firefighting industry], where essentially wealthy people with disposable cash can better protect their homes and properties from fire than people who rely on public agencies.”

Readers can find Amanda’s Living With Fire series by visiting and clicking on the “News” tab at the top of the page.

Montana Free Press was founded by veteran award-winning investigative and political reporter John S. Adams. John was formerly the Capital Bureau Chief of the Great Falls Tribune and a correspondent for USA TODAY. John is known as a dogged investigator and the host of the MT Lowdown podcast whose unbiased reporting has changed the shape of Montana politics. Contact John at, or follow him on Twitter.