Ø Piper Creek Area –The Mission Upland Burning Project will be implemented in phases during the spring and fall. A total 1,036 acres will be treated in the Piper Creek Drainage. The project will help allow future lightning-caused fires to play a more natural role within and outside the Mission Mountain Wilderness. There may be temporary closures in the area including the Piper Creek Trail # 119 during different phase of burning.
Ø Smith/Cooney – Located four miles east of Condon, Montana. These planned burns consist primarily of shrub fields, with some stands of alpine fir and whitebark pine. The intent of these burns is to stimulate new shrub sprouts and new shrubs from seed within the project areas. For some plant species, such as whitebark pine, the use of fire is the only known way to stimulate sprouting and seed germination. The result should be an increase in the amount and nutritional quality of the shrubs in the area available for big game winter forage, and an increase in whitebark pine regeneration. Other objectives include fuel reduction and re-introduction of fire on slopes that experienced repeated fire episodes prior to modern fire suppression.
Ø Meadow Smith – This project includes under-burning timber stands located within the Meadow and Smith Creek areas of the Swan Valley. These treatments will use prescribed fire for fuels reduction, vegetation regeneration, and wildlife habitat improvement.
Ø Summit Mountain Pine Beetle – The Summit Mountain Pine Beetle Salvage area is located at the southern end of the Swan Lake RD, seven miles southeast of Condon, just west of Pierce Lake. Multiple units are slated for post–harvest prescribed fire to meet site preparation and fuels reduction objectives. Burning will create conditions favorable for natural regeneration.
Ø Pile Burning – Hand or machine piles are located in several locations within the Swan Valley and Blacktail Mountain as a result of but not limited to: logging, hazardous fuels reduction in the wildland urban interface, hazard tree removal, and trail or road construction. These piles are burned to reduce the fuel loads in these areas. These piles are strategically burned based on their location, access, and weather conditions.
Each project follows a Prescribed Fire Burn Plan. The prescribed fire projects are located and designed to be controlled to reduce the potential for adverse effects, or to escape as a wildland fire. These projects will be in compliance with Montana air quality standards and coordinated with Montana State Department of Environmental Quality to reduce the impacts of smoke to our neighbors, cooperators, and surrounding communities.
For additional information about these projects contact the Swan Lake Ranger District in Bigfork at 406-837-7500.