Montana Public Radio

Lolo National Forest

Grizzly bear track.
Jim Peaco (PD) / National Park Service

A legal battle over whether temporary logging roads in grizzly bear habitat are effectively being closed may put a damper on logging projects in three national forests. The case may be headed for an appeal.

Resource conservation student Jared Smith (left) builds a beaver dam analog on Fish Creek in western Montana, along with another undergraduate and Ph.D. ecology student Andrew Lahr (right), Oct. 19, 2019.
Kevin Trevellyan / Montana Public Radio

University of Montana ecologists are researching human-made beaver dams as a potential habitat restoration tool. Early case studies show the dams could dull the impacts of climate change seen in rivers and streams. The U.S. Forest Service is looking to use the simple structures on new sites in the state, but first, officials want to better understand the science behind simulated rodent engineering.

Pile burning operations within the Marshall Woods project area, September 2019.
Montana Public Radio

The U.S. Forest Service has begun prescribed burn projects for thousands of acres within the Lolo National Forest. A press release from the Forest Service says the projects will run through November.

A view of the the Swartz Creek Fire burning about 2 miles southeast of Clinton, MT, August 19, 2019.
Lolo National Forest

The Lolo National Forest Facebook page said this afternoon that crews were actively responding to and suppressing two new wildfires on the Missoula Ranger District.

Proposed road treatments for the Swamp Eddy project on the Lolo National Forest.
Lolo National Forest

The Lolo National Forest is taking public comment on an environmental assessment for a 28,000-acre project that was delayed by fire. 

The Swamp Eddy project was initiated in 2016 but was delayed the next year when the Sheep Gap Fire burned over half the area, which is about five miles southwest of Plains.

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.

An aerial view of the Beeskove fire in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area near Missoula, July 23, 2019.
Lolo National Forest

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the size of the fire. The fire was actually 0.5 acres when discovered, not 5 acres.

A lightning-caused fire was reported in the Rattlesnake Recreation Area north of Missoula. The Lolo National Forest posted on its Facebook page that the fire was called into the Missoula Interagency Dispatch Center at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The fire is located approximately 4.5 miles up the main Rattlesnake travel corridor (Trail 515), on the south side of Rattlesnake Creek.

Smoke from the Lolo Peak Fire seen from Missoula on the evening of August 16, 2017.
Anne Hosler

The Lolo National Forest announced Wednesday that over 65,000 tree seedlings were planted across the area burned in the Lolo Peak Fire in 2017. 

The planting occurred in May thanks to a partnership with the National Forest Foundation, which donated $30,000 to purchase seedlings for the project.

Map of "Priority Landscapes" for forest management projects on the Lolo National Forest.
Lolo National Forest

Two proposed logging projects in the Seeley Lake area are the latest in a statewide push towards more use of a collaborative federal and state timber harvest program.

The Lolo National Forest wants to partner with the State of Montana on a pair of so-called Good Neighbor Authority projects to log about 5,000 acres of Forest Service land near Seeley Lake.

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