Depending on weather, fuel and air quality conditions, the Lolo National Forest plans to conduct several prescribed burns in the Missoula District.

Spokesman Boyd Hartwig said there are three areas where prescribed burns are planned.

“The first is in the Rattlesnake Recreation Area adjacent to the main Rattlesnake Trailhead, about 25 acres,” Hartwig began. “The Blue Mountain area adjacent to MacClay Flats, and that’s 80 acres. “Then, there’s the Butte Lookout area about 15 miles southwest of Missoula in the Cooper Creek Drainage just south of Highway 12, about 30 acres.”

Hartwig described the purpose of the prescribed burns.

“Generally, they’re all designed to reduce fuels,” he said. Sometimes its surface fuels, sometimes it’s called ladder fuels, that’s the branches and fuels close to the ground, and also to allow for soil regeneration and to improve the stand conditions. It’s basically to reduce that potential for wildfire and to bring the stands back to a more historic state.”

Hartwig said there are conditions that must be met before prescribed burns take place.

“All burning will be weather and fuel condition dependent,” he said. “If ignition takes place, there is potential the burning could limit public access in these areas.  For public safety, recreationists are asked to be aware of fire crews and vehicles in all prescribed fire areas.  Prescribed fire signs will be posted at trailheads, adjacent roads as well as any forest trails near where burning is taking place. Prescribed burns will be ignited only if operational safety, fuel moistures, weather conditions and air quality parameters are met.”

Please contact the Missoula Ranger District at 329-3750 with any questions.

It is not necessary to contact 9-1-1 for a prescribed burn.

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