MISSOULA — The Lolo National Forest is preparing to conduct prescribed burning operations.
“We have been on the defensive all summer and now is the time of the year when we have the opportunity to be proactive and meet our forest-wide goals of reducing hazardous fuels in key areas near communities,” said Lolo National Forest Fuels Specialist Jeff Hayes. “Over the coming weeks, we will be burning on days that maximize safety and minimize smoke impacts to restore healthy forest conditions.”
Pending favorable conditions, the following prescribed burning operations could begin as soon as this week:
- Missoula Ranger District: Ignition of up to 30 acres could begin as soon as Wednesday, Oct. 6, in the Pattee Canyon Maintenance project in the Larchcamp Loop area located four miles southeast of Missoula. Smoke may be visible from the Missoula Valley.
- Seeley Lake Ranger District: Ignition of up to 60 acres in the East Colt Summit prescribed burn unit will begin Monday, Oct. 4. The unit is located 15 miles north of Seeley Lake. Ignition of more acres in this area could be ongoing throughout the week depending on progress, conditions, and smoke dispersal. Smoke may be visible from Seeley Lake, Holland Lake, Roveros Flats, and the Highway 83 corridor.
- Ninemile Ranger District: Ignition of up to 92 acres in the McCormick Creek-Frenchtown Face prescribed burn units located ten miles north of Alberton could begin as soon as Monday, Oct. 4, and last through the rest of the week depending on progress and conditions. Smoke may be visible from the Ninemile Valley, McCormick Creek Drainage, the I-90 corridor between Missoula and Alberton. These prescribed burns are being implemented with partnership funding from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program to improve wildlife habitat.
- Plains-Thompson Falls Ranger District: Ignition of up to 126 acres could begin as soon as Tuesday, Oct. 5, in the Clear Creek Drainage and Clear Creek timber harvest units located 2-6 miles southwest of Highway 200 and Thompson Falls. Prescribed burning will prepare the area for future planting activities. Smoke may be visible from Thompson Falls and the Prospect drainage.
- Superior Ranger District: Ignition of up to 50 acres will begin on Monday, Oct. 4, in the Alpine Project along the Ninemile Divide, located seven miles east of Superior between the upper reaches of Lozo and First Creek.
Prescribed burning operations will only be conducted if conditions are favorable. Favorable conditions include correct parameters for temperature, wind, fuel moisture, and ventilation for smoke. When prescription criteria are met, firefighters implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets forest health and public safety goals.