Beau Baker

Mountain West News Bureau Reporter

Beau grew up listening to public radio on the Palouse. He is a former host, reporter, producer and engineer for Montana Public Radio in Missoula. As a reporter, he is interested in stories that address issues and perspectives unique to living in the West.

When not on the air, he is on a bicycle, eating or on the hunt for LPs.

An ominous smoke cloud fills the sky in Wyoming
Greg Sanders / InciWeb

Drought, wildfire and record-breaking heat are all part of the current climate landscape in the Mountain West. 

It’s a triple whammy that’s expected to continue into the coming months. 

Urban traffic at night in downtown Boise, Idaho
Alden Skeie / Unsplash

Amid the economic downturn, Idaho and Utah have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

A globe sits on classroom desk with an open book
Frangofoto / Shutterstock

A recent report card on climate change education in public middle and high schools across the U.S. ranked Wyoming at the top of the class with a solid A. The rest of the Mountain West was mixed.

A U.S. map with drought monitor readings from October 6, 2020. The map displays extreme and exceptional drought throughout the west, with the most notable readings in Utah, Nevada and New Mexico.
Brian Fuchs / National Drought Mitigation Center

A few weeks ago, rancher Noah Brooks said what was troubling him most was the weather.

“The fact that it didn’t rain, June, July, August but maybe three times, that this community runs around cattle and feed and if we don’t get some rain, we’re in big big trouble, and I think that we’re drying out,” he said.

Brooks lives in Clark, Colorado. But the conditions he describes are persistent throughout the region.

InciWeb

A new study suggests smoke from wildfires is more dangerous than other air pollutants for asthma patients. 

Darren J. Bradley / Shutterstock

Two states in the Mountain West have some of the country’s highest unemployment rates, including Nevada, which tops the nation. 

A graphic showing a medical professional giving a patient a nasal swab used for COVID-19 testing.
Russell Tate / United Nations COVID-19 Response

Retailer CVS announced plans last week to double its COVID-19 drive-through test sites at locations across the U.S., including in two Mountain West states.

A water tower on top of a hill with leafless trees and a power line behind it.
Michael Cramer / Flickr Creative Commons

Senate Democrats are pushing the Federal Communications Commission to expedite progress on broadband connectivity in Native communities.