The Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor has signed-off on a project to thin over 2,200 acres on the Darby Ranger District between Lake Como and Lost Horse Canyon.
Forest spokesman Tod McKay says the "Como Forest Health Project" is designed to treat what he calls "overstocked" parts of the forest that present a significant fire risk.
"There's too many trees. Quite honestly a lot of the area's been infested with pine beetle so there's a lot of dead pockets throughout that stand and it becomes a fire hazard. The trees aren't very healthy because they're all competing for the same nutrients there. It's definitely time to go in and treat that area," McKay says.
Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Julie King's decision to proceed with the thinning project means the timber sale phase will now kick into gear.
"The plan is to put them out for bid to the timber companies toward the end of August, planning on hearing back from those timber companies that are interested in September. The hope is that work can start either this fall or early winter."
The Como Forest Health Project is expected to send over 5 million board feet of timber - about 1,000 truckloads - to Montana sawmills.