Ranger Districts across the Lolo National Forest will ignite prescribed burns beginning tomorrow if fuel, weather, and air quality conditions allow for safe and effective burning. If burning takes place smoke from the Ninemile and Missoula Ranger District burns will be visible from Missoula. Smoke from burns on the Ninemile district on Sunday and Monday will be visible from Interstate-90.
On Sunday the Missoula Ranger District may ignite a burn of approximately 60 acres near the Motorcycle Trailhead at the Blue Mountain Recreation Area. The burn location (T12N R20W SW1/4 Section 4) is about two miles west of the main Blue Mountain Trailhead (and adjacent to under-burning accomplished two weeks ago). The burn is intended to reintroduce low intensity surface fire to the area, reduce surface fuel concentrations, promote ponderosa pine re-generation, and rejuvenate forest floor vegetation. The burn will likely be ignited by hand and fire managers expect to complete the burn in about four hours. Smoke will be visible from Missoula and the Hayes Creek area.
For the Blue Mountain burn road signs will be posted along Blue Mountain and Hayes Creek roads. To ensure public safety, recreationists are advised to use caution on adjacent roads and be aware of fire operations along Forest Road 365. During the ignition period there will be limited access to portions of forest trails south of the Motorcycle Trailhead.
The Missoula Ranger District also plans to ignite a prescribed burn in the Rock Creek drainage southeast of Missoula on Monday, April 23. The Butte Cabin Creek Ecosystem Maintenance Prescribed Burn (EMB) is located about 20 miles up Rock Creek Road #102 (T9N R17W Section 21). Approximately 500 acres is planned for ignition utilizing a helicopter operating out of Rock Creek.
The purpose of the Rock Creek burn is to reintroduce low-intensity surface fire to fire dependent ecosystems. The burn will increase forage for wildlife as well as to reduce surface fuel concentrations. To ensure safety, recreationists should be aware of fire crews and vehicles along Rock Creek Road. During burning operations there will be limited access to Forest Trails 224 and 227.
All burns will be ignited only if operational safety, fuel moistures, weather conditions, and State of Montana air quality parameters can be attained.
A Forest-wide 2012 prescribed burning map can also be found on the main page of the Lolo NF website at: www.fs.usda.gov/lolo (please be advised of long download time for the map).
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