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

Prescribed Burn Underway In Pattee Canyon Near Missoula

A prescribed underburn in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area near Missoula in the fall of 2019.
Lolo National Forest
A prescribed underburn in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area near Missoula in the fall of 2019.

A prescribed burn is responsible for a large plume of smoke in Pattee Canyon just outside Missoula Thursday.

"We don’t want anyone to be alarmed," Lolo National Forest spokesperson Kate Jerman says. "It is part of the Pattee Canyon maintenance project which is an ongoing project in that area working to reduce hazardous fuels in areas nearby Missoula."

Thursday's 30-acre prescribed burn operation took place in the popular Crazy Canyon recreation area, about 3 miles southeast of Missoula.

Favorable weather conditions permitting, Jerman says another 20-acre burn is anticipated in the same area Friday.

"There are no trail closures, but we are asking folks who are in the area to be aware that there are firefighters working in the area and to try to avoid those locations for now."

The smoke is anticipated to dissipate this weekend.

[Related: Fireline: Exploring What Wildfire Means For The West, Our Planet And Our Way Of Life]

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O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
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