MTPR

Lolo Peak Fire

(L to R) Forest Service Fire Scientist Mark Finney, Missoula District Ranger Jennifer Hensiek, Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier, at a Missoula City Club meeting, focused on wild fire, June 10, 2019.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

It’s going to take fire — and a lot of it — to fight wildfire in the Missoula Valley, where it is and always has been part of the landscape. Experts say it’s also going to take more prescribed burning, new levels of government agency coordination and new layers of government regulation to make a difference.

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

After a wildfire, forest managers know that a forest can and will bounce back on its own. Still, the U.S. Forest Service doles out millions of dollars each year for post-burn restoration and rehabilitation.

Michelle and Dan Schurg walk through their Florence area neighborhood in the aftermath of the Lolo Peak Fire, September 2017.
Mike Albans

The Lolo National Forest’s Missoula Ranger District is now accepting public comment on a proposal to plant trees on thousands of acres that burned in last summer’s 50,000-acre Lolo Peak fire.

The proposed treatments would occur on almost 8,000 acres burned by the Lolo Peak Fire.

Crews work the July Fire in Phillips County, Montana July 5, 2017.
Inciweb

The federal government has denied Montana’s request for $44 million dollars in disaster funding following the historic 2017 fire season that burned over a million acres across the state.

Dan and Michelle Schurg show how close the Lolo Peak Fire got to their home in the Folsom Road neighborhood near Florence.
Mike Albans

This fire season has seen numerous evacuation orders across Montana, but some people choose to stay, saying they want to be present to defend their homes. Among them were Dan and Michelle Schurg.

In the wee hours of August 17, The Lolo Peak Fire destroyed two homes in their Florence-area neighborhood. Dan, Michelle and a friend defied a mandatory evacuation order to defend the Schurg home in the upper reaches of the Folsom Road area. 

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