Helena District Prepares for Fall Prescribed Burns
Incident: Helena Prescribed Burns Prescribed Fire
HELENA, MONT., October 24, 2011-The Helena Ranger District will be preparing to implement prescribed burn projects in and around the Helena area. Prescribed fire operations will begin as weather and fuels conditions allow, and will likely continue into late fall and/or early winter.
Three prescribed burn units in the Jimtown Road area, totaling approximately 700 acres, are planned to be implemented. These units are part of the Jimtown Hazardous Fuels Project, and support the stated purpose and need of the project environmental assessment, which is to maintain healthy, sustainable ecosystems that reduce fire risk.
Another prescribed fire project consists of units throughout the area south of Helena and total approximately 800 acres. These units are part of the Clancy/Unionville Vegetation Manipulation and Travel Management Project, and support the stated purpose and need of that project to:
· provide for healthy native forest/grassland communities with a wide variety of native plant species, including trees of varying ages, species and sizes that are more sustainable and resilient; and
· reduce the threat of large scale, catastrophic wildfire by reducing horizontal continuity in wet forest types and vertical continuity in the dry forest types.
Hand-piles, results from the Tucker/Dry Fuels reduction project south of Helena, are also planned for prescribed fire implementation. These are the last units to be burned in the Tucker/Dry Hazardous Fuels Reductions Project, and support the purpose and need of the project to:
· reduce hazardous fuels loadings along shared boundaries between National Forest System lands, State Lands, City of Helena, and private lands.
Slash piles, which are results from the Hazard Tree Removal activities in the North Elkhorn RHR sale area, Telegraph RHR sale area and the South Hills RHR sale area will also be burned when conditions allow. These areas are part of the Forest-wide Hazardous Tree Removal and Fuels Reduction Project, and support the stated purpose and need of the project to:
· reduce threats to public safety by felling and removing hazard trees impacted by the mountain pine beetle epidemic along open roads, campgrounds and administrative sites as well as reducing wildfire risks, protecting watersheds, and addressing the potential threat of wildfires.
A few scattered slash piles from firewood gathering activities throughout the Helena Ranger District could be burned this fall, which are mostly adjacent to main roads. Burning will begin as weather conditions allow and may continue into late fall, early winter.
For more information on this fall's prescribed fire plans or the projects they are associated with, please call Brett Beagley at 406-266-3425.