News Minute: Here is the latest Montana news from The Associated - News, Sports and Weather

News Minute: Here is the latest Montana news from The Associated Press at 4:40 p.m. MDT

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration is pledging to work more closely with state and local officials to prevent wildfires and fight those choking California and other Western states. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the Forest Service and other agencies will step up efforts to cut down small trees and underbrush and set controlled fires to remove trees that serve as fuel for catastrophic blazes. Perdue spoke Thursday after touring the California fires earlier this week.

(AP) - Montana's Democratic governor is in Iowa talking up his ability to win in Trump country, but he is still deflecting questions about a 2020 presidential run. Gov. Steve Bullock spoke Thursday at the Des Moines Register's Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair as he explores a potential presidential campaign.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte's proposal to remove federal protections from lands designated as wilderness study areas across Montana is emerging as a central issue in his bid to keep the seat he won in a special election last year. The Republican and his Democratic challenger, Kathleen Williams, held dueling public meetings Wednesday about two Gianforte bills that would strip more than 1,000 square miles of federal lands of their designation..

LIBBY, Mont. (AP) - An Idaho woman has been convicted of shooting and killing her former boyfriend along a rural road in northwestern Montana. The Western News reports the jury found Sarah Carpenter guilty of deliberate homicide in the death of Travis Gillett. Carpenter's husband, Ezra Skinner, testified against her.

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