MTPR

Bitterroot National Forest

July Fire file photo courtesy of InciWeb
InciWeb

Update: 6:30 p.m. 07/10/17

Tribal officials have increased the fire danger to “Extreme” on the west side of the Flathead Indian Reservation and “Very High” on the east side.

Fire managers for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes write in a press release that fine, dead fuels are drying out across the reservation. They add human behavior, such as tossing cigarette butts onto dry grass, leaving campfires unattended, lighting fireworks, burning debris and driving through dry grasses, has caused multiple grass fires across the Northern Rockies over the past week.

Gold Butterfly Project vicinity map.
Bitterroot National Forest

The Bitterroot National Forest is holding an open house this evening to get public input on a project aimed at reducing wildfire risk near Corvallis.

"We have mature stands of timber that are kind of reaching the end of their lifespan. They just need a little thinning to encourage additional growth or to reduce the risk of future insect and disease outbreaks and to improve their health and vitality,” says Gold Butterfly Project Team Leader Marilyn Wildey.

Wet Weather Hampers Prescribed Burns In Montana

May 8, 2017
A firefighter works to control a blaze at the edge of back-burn on a private ranch near the Roaring Lion Fire, August 3, 2016.
Mike Albans

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — A snowy winter and a wet spring in western Montana are making it hard to conduct prescribed burns to reduce the risk of wildfires later in the year, federal forest managers said.

Beauty of the Big Sky, U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree
U.S. Forest Service

A tree from northwest Montana will grace the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington next Christmas. The U.S. Forest Service has been supplying the capitol with trees for decades. Elizabeth Slown, spokesperson for the Northern Region of the Forest Service, says this year, the Kootenai National Forest has the honor.

Snowmobile
Maropak (CC-BY-SA-3)

The Bitterroot National Forest’s first, newly updated travel plan in 40 years is facing its first legal challenge.

A coalition of seven multiple-use recreation groups describes their lawsuit as a, "last resort to stop the federal overreach of agencies running roughshod over public lands."

The Roaring Lion fire burning five miles southwest of Hamilton, MT, July 31, 2016.
Inciweb

Forty-five acres of trees killed by a major wildfire last summer are slated for harvest. The Bitterroot National Forest today announced it’s moving forward on the salvage project in the Roaring Lion draining southwest of Hamilton.

3 Men Deny Negligent Arson Charges For Roaring Lion Fire

Nov 18, 2016
Roaring Lion Fire hours after it blew up on July 31, 2016.
Inciweb

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — Three 18-year-old Hamilton men have pleaded not guilty to negligent arson. Prosecutors alleged they failed to fully extinguish a campfire in the Bitterroot National Forest in late July that days later sparked a wildfire that burned more than 13 square miles, destroyed 16 homes and led to the evacuation of hundreds of homes.

In response to our August 4 interview with Bitterroot National Forest District Ranger Eric Winthers about the forest thinning project in the area of the Roaring Lion Fire, and the litigation over it, Forest Spokesman Tod McKay offered the following clarifications:  

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 1, 2016

Aug 1, 2016
Roaring Lion Fire hours after it blew up on July 31, 2016.
Inciweb

The latest news on wildfires around western Montana.

Fire Danger 'High' On Bitterroot National Forest

Jul 21, 2016
Missoula County’s fire danger bumped up a notch Monday from "moderate" to "high."
U.S. Forest Service

Fire danger is back to 'high' on the Bitterroot National Forest. According to forest officials, that means, "fires can start easily from most causes and small fuels (such as grasses and needles) will ignite readily. Unattended campfires and brush fires are likely to escape. Fires will spread easily, with some areas of high-intensity burning on slopes or concentrated fuels. Fires can become serious and difficult to control unless they are put out while they are still small."

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