KALISPELL, MONTANA – Sept. 29, 2015 – Ranger Districts on the Flathead National Forest are planning to conduct multiple fall season prescribed fire projects, when weather, fuel conditions, and air quality is favorable. Burning is expected to start as early as October 1 and will continue through the close of open burning season on November 30, 2015. Smoke will be visible from various places in the Flathead Valley depending on the location of the burn units and weather conditions.
Each project follows a Prescribed Fire Burn Plan. The prescribed fire projects are located, designed and controlled to reduce the potential for adverse effects or escape as a wildland fire. These projects will be in compliance with Montana air quality standards and coordinated with Montana State Department of Environmental Quality to reduce the impacts of smoke to our neighbors, cooperators, and surrounding communities. The project areas include:
Hungry Horse/Glacier View Ranger Districts
Red Whale Creek Area -- A 1114 acre project is planned in the Red Whale Creek drainage in the North Fork of the Flathead about four miles north of Polebridge. Depending on weather, this burn is planned for early October. The purpose of the project is to help restore a more historical fire regime to the ecosystem, improve wildlife habitat and reduce hazardous fuels to reduce wildfire risk and aid in potential future fire suppression efforts. In the same area about 31 acres of piles from logging slash will be burned.
Heinrude Fuels Project-- This work involves burning about 22 acres of debris piles adjacent to Heinrude Creek and the West-side Hungry Horse Reservoir road near the Heinrude cabins.
Belton Fuels Project—This project includes the burning of about 15 acres of debris piles adjacent to private property in West Glacier and 176 acres of scattered debris piles between Coram and West Glacier.
Granite Lodgepole—Work involves burning about 30 acres along the Skyland Road, Forest Road #569 in the Middle Fork of the Flathead.
Lost Johnny Campground—This project involves burning about 10 acres of debris and slash in the campground.
Big Creek Campground—About 10 acres of debris and slash will be burned in the campground.
Essex Area— Work involves the burning of several debris piles and logging slash in the Essex area.
Hungry Horse Ranger Station—Debris piles will be burned along the lower Hungry Horse Dam road near the town of Hungry Horse.
Tally Lake Ranger District
Beaver Lake North Fuels Reduction Project – This project involves the burning of about 80 acres of debris piles adjacent to private property about five miles west of Whitefish.
Valley Face Fuels Reduction Project – Work involves the burning of about 20 acres of debris piles adjacent to private property about eight miles southwest of Whitefish along the Tally Lake Road.
Bootjack Fuels Reduction Project – This burn will include about 10 acres of debris piles adjacent to private property eight miles west of Whitefish along Farm-to-Market Road.
Round Meadow Cross-Country Ski Area/East Mountain Road and Mountain Meadows Area– These burns located west of Whitefish, involve burning about 32 acres of scattered debris piles for logging slash disposal.
Blast Lake and Martin Ponds Area – These three burn projects totaling nine acres, are part of a pilot project intended to aid in the suppression of reed canary grass, an invasive plant species, by removing vegetation prior to herbicide application. The project areas include Blast Lake eight miles southwest of Whitefish and Martin Ponds two miles west of Olney.
Swan Lake Ranger District
Meadow Smith Area – This project includes burning under timber stands located within the Meadow and Smith Creek areas of the Swan Valley. These treatments will use prescribed fire for fuels reduction, vegetation regeneration, and wildlife habitat improvement.
Debris Pile Burning –Debris piles created by timber harvest, fuels reduction work, hazard tree removal and tree removal from trail and road work will be burned in several locations in the Swan Valley and the Blacktail Mountain and Haskill Mountain areas. The piles will be strategically burned based on their location, access and weather conditions.