MTPR

Bitterroot National Forest

A firefighter carries a drip-torch during a previous controlled burn in the Bitterroot National Forest.
Bitterroot National Forest

Fall is here, and the Bitterroot National Forest’s first seasonal prescribed burns could begin Saturday in the Lake Como/Lost Horse area. The planned blazes allow managers to remove excess forest fuels and downed timber.

Though few relish the smoke, Bitterroot Forest spokesman Tod McKay said prescribed burns are critical in preparing for the next fire season.

Grizzly bear
iStock

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently changed how federal agencies will apply rules within the Endangered Species Act. The move raises questions about protections for established grizzly bear populations in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. MTPR's Aaron Bolton explains what the rules mean for uninhabited grizzly ecosystems, like the Bitterroot National Forest.

A firefighter working on the Beeskove Fire in the Rattlesnake Recreation Are near Missoula.
Lolo National Forest

Updated 5:19 p.m., August 1, 2019

Lightning near the south end of the Bitterroot National Forest Wednesday night has sparked a one-tenth acre fire west of Hamilton in the Canyon Creek drainage next to Blodgett Canyon.

Forest Service spokesperson Tod McKay says a few firefighters have been working on the blaze near Barley Creek this afternoon; helicopters have also made water bucket drops.

A helicopter drops water on the Beeskove fire north of Missoula July 26, 2019.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

Updated 10:45 p.m. July 26, 2019.

The Lewis and Clark County Sheriffs Office has ordered evacuations near Helena due to growing danger from the North Hills Fire. Residents near the intersection of Snowdrift and Ferry, east to Hauser Dam Road are ordered to evacuate the area.

A bear warning sign.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

A grizzly bear was detected in the Bitterroot National Forest about 15 miles west of Stevensville last week, according to a Montana FWP press release. Although there's no resident population of grizzlies in the Bitterroot, bear managers consider the area an important link between griz populations in the Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide ecosystems.

A National Forest Service fire danger sign.
Courtesy: Bitterroot National Forest

Consider it the unofficial start of the summer wildfire season in the Bitterroot Valley. Fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest was raised up a notch Wednesday, going from “Low” to “Moderate."

Moderate fire dangers means a fire can start from most accidental causes. Fires started under these conditions in open, dry grasslands can quickly take off, while timber fires spread more slowly and are easier to control.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen vows the agency will meet with mountain biking groups who want to regain access to two wilderness study areas in the Bitterroot National Forest.
(PD)

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines continues to pressure the U.S. Forest Service to reconsider proposed mountain bike closures in two Montana wilderness sudy areas.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen vows the agency will meet with mountain biking groups who want to regain access to two wilderness study areas in the Bitterroot National Forest.

National Forest Wilderness Sign
Jason Crotty (CC-BY-2)

Due the partial federal government shutdown that started in December, the Bitterroot National Forest is extending a comment period on whether helicopters should be allowed to fly into a wilderness area to repair a century-old dam.

A map showing the proposed project management areas outside of Stevensville.
Forest Service USDA


  The Bitterroot National Forest is taking comments on a proposed timber sale and vegetation management project in the Sapphire Mountains northeast of Stevensville.

The Forest is proposing to manage vegetation and reduce fuels on 238 acres in and next to the Threemile Wildlife Management Area. It says is entirely within the Wildland-Urban Interface -- the area of forest that mixes with human development and is at risk for wildfire.

The U.S. Forest Service and Montana DNRC work to plant more than 13,000 whitebark pine seedlings in the Swan Mountain Range as a cooperative post-burn restoration project on June 18, 2018.
Nicky Ouellet / MTPR

A team of researchers at the University of Montana has received a $700,000 grant from NASA to promote reforestation efforts across the western United States.

The grant will allow UM’s researchers to develop a set of tools to help the U.S. Forest Service improve its decision-making process following major disturbances like wildfires.

Pages