MTPR

Bitterroot National Forest

U.S. Forest Service

Highway 37 Fire, Kootenai National Forest Update 5:22 p.m. July 23, 2018

The Highway 37 Fire burning near Libby’s asbestos superfund site is 10 percent contained as of Monday afternoon. The 50-acre blaze did not grow much over the weekend. A team of 10 specially trained firefighters, a decontamination crew, a hotshot team and two engine crews made progress digging containment line around the fire’s perimeter, aided by helicopter dousing hot spots.

Reynolds Lake fire near the Junction of 1381 Road to Reynolds Lake Trailhead
InciWeb

A new estimate puts the Reynolds Lake Fire in the Bitterroot National Forest at more than 1,000 acres.

Forest spokesman Tod McKay said the fire grew from 10-15 acres yesterday morning to 1,068 acres by the day’s end. It was pushed by 30 mile-per-hour winds.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For July 18, 2018

Jul 18, 2018
The Reynolds Lake Fire on the Bitterroot National Forest was discovered July 17, 2018. Its size is currently unknown. More than 50 firefighters and a Very Large Air Tanker have been called in to fight the fire.
Google Maps

Wildfire season has arrived as fire danger ratings are increasing in national forests and wildlands throughout Montana. The Kootenai National Forest moved to "very high" Wednesday, and the Bitterroot National Forest switched to "high" fire danger this morning following the discovery of two lightning-caused fires Tuesday. The Flathead National Forest and surrounding area has also moved their fire danger to “high” this week.

Montana DNRC helicopter used to fight wildfires.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

The Flathead Beacon is reporting that a 10 acre wildfire started on the Kootenai National Forest Sunday, 23 miles north of Libby, and is still burning Monday.

Reportedly caused by lightning, the Zulu fire doesn’t threaten any structures. At least one helicopter has been dispatched to suppress the flames.

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)

A judge has ordered Bitterroot National Forest officials to allow public comment on whether two Wilderness Study Areas should be re-opened to bicycle use.

At least a half-dozen groups, including the Bitterroot Backcountry Cyclists, have sued for increased access to the Blue Joint and Sapphire Wilderness Study Areas.

Fire danger sign.
Jonathan Thorne (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Bitterroot National Forest is changing its fire danger level from ‘Low’ to ‘Moderate’ starting Wednesday, June 27.

The shift to ‘moderate’ means that wildfires can now be expected to start from most accidental causes. In addition to lightning, that includes human causes like smoldering campfires left unattended.

Morel mushrooms.
Flickr user Ann Althouse (CC-BY-NC-2)

With temperatures on the rise, many Montanans have one thing on their minds: finding that perfect morel. MTPR's Clare Menahan has details about harvesting legally on area national forests.

Last year’s devastating fire season means Western Montana has become a mushroom-picking haven for thousands of local and visiting mushroom pickers.

Caption The US Forest Service has proposed several thinning projects this fall aimed at reducing fuels in dry pine forests like this in the Bitterroot National Forest.
Nora Saks

Montana lawmakers are scoring political points by blaming environmentalists for suing to shut down logging projects on public lands. But public lands logging is both feeding area sawmills and reducing wildfire risk. MTPR's Nora Saks reports on a couple of projects in the Bitterroot Valley.

Trapper Peak near Hamilton, Montana.
US Forest Service photo, by Roger Peterson

The Bitterroot National Forest wants to raise the price to use 14 campgrounds and three cabins. The proposed fees would affect campgrounds in the Stevensville, West Fork and Darby/Sula ranger districts including the Charles Waters Campground, the Magruder Ranger’s House and the Como Lake Campground.

This map shows the burn severity as of August 22, 2017 for the Park Creek Fire, one of the biggest fires in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest this year.
INCIWEB

The Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest lifted all fire related closures today. Several other national forests in Montana reduced fire restrictions or closures over the last several weeks. 

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