BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge ruled Friday that chemical retardant dropped on wildfires by the U.S. Forest Service is polluting streams in western states in violation of federal law, but said that it can keep being used to fight fires.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen in Montana came after environmentalists sued the government for dropping the red slurry material into waterways hundreds of times over the past decade.
Government officials say chemical fire retardant is sometimes crucial to slowing the advance of dangerous blazes. Wildfires across North America have grown bigger and more destructive over the past two decades.