Currently, contractors are starting mechanical activities to fell, pile, and burn hazardous fuels in treatment unit C-35—located in the southcentral portion of Section 9 in T9N, R4W—and will begin to burn slash material in the Forest’s air curtain burners next week. The air curtain burners are self-contained incinerators that will be used to burn specific-sized slash material from the management units.
Once operations are completed in C-35, the contractor will move to unit C-37—located in the southeast corner of Section 9 in T9N, R4W—to implement similar management treatments.
Unit C-37 surrounds the Helena Ridge Trail Trailhead and parking lot. During management operations the trailhead and a short portion of the trail taking off from the trailhead will need to be closed to the public for safety reasons. Specific closure dates for the trailhead are not yet determined and will depend on work progress in unit C-35, but will be shared with the public as soon as they are available. Implementation of all project activities is expected to last approximately six-to-nine weeks.
These management activities are part of the overall Clancy/Unionville Vegetation 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.
If you have questions or would like more informaiton, please contact the Bob Culbreth, Assistant Fire Management Officer, at 406-495-3883. Management unit maps will be posted on our website at www.fs.usda.gov/helena/ as well.