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

Prescribed Burns To Begin In The Blackfoot Valley

Primm Meadows in the Blackfoot Valley on the Lolo National Forest.
Josh Burnham
Primm Meadows in the Blackfoot Valley on the Lolo National Forest.

State and volunteer fire crews are planning a series of prescribed burns in the Blackfoot Valley this spring to reduce the risk of more severe wildfires.

The Nature Conservancy and its partners including the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation are conducting the burns throughout the valley including Primm Meadow.

According to Nature Conservancy spokesperson Bebe Crouse, the goal is to reintroduce controlled fire in places that haven’t burned in over a century.

"It just takes away a lot of the fuel that could really feed a wildfire should we get a lightning strike or, you know, a campfire that runs amuck and sets off a fire," she explained.

Where, when and how many controlled burns there will be depends entirely on weather and moisture conditions. Crouse acknowledged that smoke is a nuisance.

"Yes, we all hate that smoke, but with a prescribed fire, you're gonna have that smoke for a day or two," she said. "If you get a big wildfire going, it's going to be weeks and weeks and it's going to be a whole lot more smoke."

Crouse said the Conservancy and its partners conducted similar prescribed burns on about 85 acres of the Blackfoot Valley back in 2019.

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