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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Seedlings Off To Strong Start In Lolo Peak Burn Area

Smoke from the Lolo Peak Fire seen from Missoula on the evening of August 16, 2017.
Anne Hosler

The Lolo National Forest announced Wednesday that over 65,000 tree seedlings were planted across the area burned in the Lolo Peak Fire in 2017. 

The planting occurred in May thanks to a partnership with the National Forest Foundation, which donated $30,000 to purchase seedlings for the project.

Wes Swaffar, Director of Reforestation and Partnerships for the Forest Foundation says early reports show the seeds have high survivability and the conditions should make for continued success.

“In some cases, fires burn so severe or they burn across sites that don’t have a chance to regenerate on their own. And so by, you know, proverbially planting a seed, or seedlings, we’re allowing that forest cover to persist for decades to come.”

Missoula District Ranger Jennifer Hensiek says the area should be safe from another burn for quite a few years.

The seedling area will be monitored by the forest service over the next few years and continued maintenance for the seedlings could include placing animal browsing protection over the baby trees and providing shade cover.

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