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The original item was published from 4/16/2015 10:59:59 AM to 4/17/2015 12:05:00 AM.

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Posted on: April 16, 2015


Hamilton, Montana (April 16, 2015) – Warmer temperatures this week will allow Bitterroot National Forest fire managers to continue their 2015 prescribed fire program.
This afternoon, fire crews will be conducting a prescribed burn, weather permitting, on the West Fork. The School Point Ecoburn is located two miles up Nelson Lake Road, west of the Ranger District Office. It is one of six prescribed fire projects planned on the West Fork and Sula Ranger Districts totaling approximately 1,545 acres. The treatment areas include:

Sula Ranger District
• Middle East Fork, west of Guide Creek
• Kerleebert Units, east of Colvert Creek
• Tepee Face Ecoburn, south of Tepee Point (Pile burning)

West Fork Ranger District
• School Point Ecoburn, west of West Fork Ranger District
• Soda Springs Habitat Improvement, east of Soda Springs
• Lower West Fork, north of Christisen Creek (Pile burning)

Along with the prescribed burns, fire crews are also planning intermittent pile burning to clean-up debris from recent thinning and logging operations. A map of the burn areas can be found at

The burns will only be ignited if operational safety, fuel moisture, weather conditions, and air quality parameters can be attained. All areas will be signed and notifications will be made to local residents. Smoke will likely be visible from the East Fork road and West Fork highway during burn operations.

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.

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.

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