Kootenai National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
31374 US Hwy 2 Libby Montana 59923
Libby, MT 59923
Trout Creek, Mont., August 19, 2019 — The Cabinet Ranger District of the Kootenai National Forest is planning a fall prescribed burn of up to 2,400 acres associated with the Minton-Trout Project. The purpose of the burn is to improve forage habitat for big game species and to reduce hazardous fuels in the East Fork and West Fork Trout Creek, and Attlebury Creek drainages. Ignition will be conducted by helicopter and will target heavy concentration of dead and down fuels. An area and trail closure will be in effect several days prior to ignition to ensure public safety.
Fire plays an integral role in our environment. Prescribed fire is similarly a critical tool in the Kootenai National Forest resource management program. By returning fire to its natural role on the landscape, we can improve forest conditions and facilitate safe management of future wildfires. Prescribed fire mimics naturally occurring mixed severity fire processes, reducing accumulation of fuels and improving growing conditions. The prescribed fire treatments in the Trout Creek area will improve the quality, quantity, and distribution of forage for big game species. The treatments will also reduce the threat of an uncharacteristic wildfire through the consumption of hazardous fuels that accumulate overtime.
Planned ignitions will only occur when weather and fuel conditions are optimal for achieving management objectives and when smoke impacts can be minimized for surrounding communities. All prescribed burns are approved in advance by the Montana-Idaho Airshed Group to ensure satisfactory levels of smoke dispersion.
A large smoke column is expected to be visible during the ignition phase. While autumn provides advantageous conditions for effective prescribed burning, residual smoke may linger for days or weeks until dispersed by weather and precipitation. The greater part of the smoke column is expected to dissipate within a day or two following ignition.
Conditions are carefully tracked to determine when ignition can occur without undue risk of fire spread outside of the burn unit area. Burn units were designed to utilize natural topographic barriers to control fire spread and progression. Prescribed fires will be closely monitored to ensure that ignition objectives are met and that the fire remains within the burn unit boundary.
A temporary trail and area closure will be implemented for public and firefighter safety during prescribed burn activities. The area closure will be rescinded when fire behavior is minimal or significant precipitation has occurred in the prescribed fire area. The temporary area closure will include the main stem, south branch, and west fork of Trout Creek (see attached map). The temporary trail access closure will include 1) Trail 774 from the Idaho border to the junction of Trail 795 and 2) Trail 779 from the Idaho border to Trail 774.
For more information, please contact Dusty Pierson, Assistant Fire Management Officer at 406-827-0709 or the Cabinet Ranger District office by phone at 406-827-3353 or in person at 2693 MT Hwy 200, Trout Creek MT 59874, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.