MISSOULA — A key piece of new efforts to make Missoula County's communities safer from wildfire is ready for public review, with Lolo National Forest managers hoping to launch a major safety plan for the next 20 years.
The Wildfire Adapted Missoula Project is the Forest Service's part to implement the Missoula County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, a multi-jurisdictional effort that was adopted in the aftermath of the terrible 2017 fire season.
The project outlines steps the Forest Service will take to manage the fire risk on more than 177,000 acres of public land surrounding Missoula, Lolo and other communities up the Clark Fork River to Clinton. Project Manager Sara Rouse says the concept is to use steps like thinning, prescribed burns, vegetation management and other managers to reduce hazards.
"There's nothing that we can do where we can eliminate that risk completely of course," Rouse explained. "But the goal again is to just to reduce that risk to the community. And then hopefully working together again across that boundary, working with private landowners, working with communities and everyone sort of, all hands on deck, to be able to minimize that risk to communities as much as possible."
The Wildfire Adapted Missoula Project will be explained during a virtual open house sponsored by Lolo National Forest Wednesday evening. Additional information about the plan is available from the project's website. The deadline for public comment on this part of the planning effort is June 3.