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Public meetings continuing for the Bitterroot Front Plan

Posted: 9:01 PM, Oct 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-23 23:01:35-04
Bitterroot Front Plan

HAMILTON — Bitterroot National Forest managers say the proposed Bitterroot Front Plan would allow the Forest Service to regularly use tools to keep the forest healthy, instead of scrambling to fight as many wildfires.

The USFS is holding additional meetings to explain the details of the Bitterroot Front Plan, a comprehensive effort to be more pro-active when it comes to cutting wildfire risk along the western edge of the Bitterroot.

The move comes after the valley has been hit with repeated large fires that have threatened homes and property in the Wildland Urban Interface.

The goal is to identify key areas for on-going forest management, and working with private landowners to provide expertise and funding to help cut fire risk on their own properties.

The agency is proposing regular use of existing tools, from select logging projects to prescribed burning for a healthier forest.

"Fuels reduction covers everything from hand thinning and hand piling, and commercial thinning, where the trees are of commercial product you know. And prescribed burning,\" Darby District Ranger Eric Winthers said. "Once we can thin it enough where we'll go in an burn every five years or so to keep that understory cleared out.

A public meeting was held on Wednesday evening in the mid-valley, in the Victor and Stevensville area, Corvallis residents will be briefed the evening of Oct. 29 at the Corvallis Fire Station on Woodside Cutoff Road.

Meetings will be held in Florence on Nov. 5 and in Hamilton on Nov. 12.