Prescribed Burns Planned for West Fork & Sula Area
Hamilton, Montana (April 11, 2016) – The West Fork Ranger District is planning, weather permitting, to begin a 165-acre prescribed burn this afternoon, April 11th. The burning is scheduled to take place over the next two days and is associated with the Lower West Fork project, north of Christisen Creek and West Fork Lodge. Fire managers expect to ignite the burns near 1 p.m. and conclude burning around 6 p.m. Resources assigned to the fire include 21 firefighters and 2 engines.
Smoke from this burn is expected to be visible from West Fork Highway. Today’s burn is one of several prescribed fire projects planned this spring on the West Fork and Darby/Sula Ranger Districts totaling approximately 1,500 acres. Over the next several weeks, fire crews will be conducting burns to reduce fuels and restore characteristics of a fire-adapted ecosystem. The treatment areas include:
Darby/Sula Ranger District
• Middle East Fork Units, east of Colvert Creek
• Tepee Face Ecoburn, south of Teepee Point (Pile burning)
West Fork Ranger District
• School Point Ecoburn, west of West Fork Ranger District
• Soda Spring Habitat Improvement, east of Soda Springs
The burns will only be ignited if operational safety, fuel moisture, weather conditions, and air quality parameters can be attained. Fire crews will monitor all burns after ignition to ensure that they stay within prescribed boundaries. All areas will be signed and notifications will be made to local residents.
Low intensity prescribed fires have several objectives including:
• Maintain forest health and ecosystem restoration
• Improve wildlife habitat – many plants respond favorably to fire providing new food sprouts for wildlife.
• Reduce the potential of large, high intensity wildfires by reducing the amount of downed fuel to burn.
• Post harvest slash treatment – reduce residual slash created by thinning operations and personal use firewood cutting.
For public safety, recreationists are asked to be aware of fire crews and vehicles in these areas. The public is also asked to avoid traveling in prescribed burn units as well as trails and roads directly adjacent to the units. Please take caution as roads and trails used as control lines for the burn could be temporarily impacted by low intensity fire and smoke.
Fire managers hope to conduct the burning quickly, with limited impacts to recreational users and the general public. For more information or to be placed on a day-of-burning notification list, please contact your local ranger station.
For the latest burn announcements, burn updates, maps, and photos of projects visit us at www.facebook.com/DiscoverTheBitterroot and www.twitter.com/BitterrootNF