Flathead National Forest Spring Prescribed Fire Projects

FNF Spring 2021 Prescribed BurnsSpring 2021 prescribed burn activity in the North Fork is limited to areas close to Columbia Falls, Coram and Martin City, although the rest of the Flathead National Forest is seeing considerably more activity.

From the press release…

Kalispell, MT, March 18, 2021- The Flathead National Forest is planning to conduct spring prescribed fire projects, when weather, fuel conditions, and air quality become favorable.  Smoke will be visible from various places in the Flathead Valley depending on the location of the burn units 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 follow 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.  The project areas include:

Pile burning: On the attached map major locations of concentrated piles are identified.  These may include both landing and hand piles.  There are also scattered piles not identified on the map which may also be burned.

 Swan Lake Ranger District:

Huey, Dewey, Louie Timber Sales – This project includes broadcast burning in timber harvest units located within the Blacktail Mountain area west of Lakeside, MT and South of Kila, MT. These treatments will use prescribed fire for fuels reduction, vegetation regeneration, and wildlife habitat improvement.

How Now Timber Sale – This project includes broadcast burning in timber harvest units located on Sixmile Mountain, North of Swan Lake, MT.  These treatments will use prescribed fire for fuels reduction, and vegetation regeneration.

Swan Valley Bottom Maintenance Burning – This project includes maintenance broadcast burning in previously treated timber harvest units located within the Swan Valley. These treatments will use prescribed fire for fuels reduction, large ungulate winter range improvement, and improvement of forest health.

Swan Lake Ranger Station – This project includes under burning the administrative site at the Swan Lake Ranger District office located in Bigfork, MT. These treatments will use prescribed fire for fuels reduction and wildlife habitat improvement.

Pile Burning – Hand or machine piles are located in locations within the Blacktail Mountain area, Swan Valley, Bigfork community, and miscellaneous piles around the district as a result of but not limited to: logging, hazardous fuels reduction in the wildland urban interface, hazard tree removal, recreation site management and trail or road construction. These piles are burned to reduce fuel loads in these areas. These piles are strategically burned based on their location, access, and weather conditions.

 Tally Lake Ranger District:

Martin-Radnor Unit 64 – 17-acre activity fuels hand ignited understory burn in the Wildland Urban Interface west of Olney with retention of mature Larch and natural regeneration.

Swamp Rat 9/9A – 64-acre activity fuels hand ignited understory burn just south of Star Meadows.

 Hungry Horse District:

Coram Pasture Rx—The prescribed fire is near Martin City on the Forest Service administrative site used for pasturing agency livestock.  This burn objectives are to maintain productivity of the site and reduce encroaching brush and saplings while improving range conditions. Approximately 20 acres is proposed.

Crystal Cedar Fuels Reduction project.  5 acres of handpiles north of Columbia Falls in the Cedar Flats area an additional 30 acres of handpiles near Parker road along the North Fork road will be targeted.

Hungry Lion TS.  25 acres of handpiles on Kuzmic lane in Coram will be treated this spring.  Additionally, 10 acres of handpiles along the Eastside reservoir road (FS road 38) will be treated

 Spotted Bear Ranger District:

Spotted Bear Ranger District is monitoring the weather and fuels conditions this spring in anticipation of conducting a few prescribed burns to meet a variety of objectives including slash reduction and site preparation in harvest units as well as reducing natural fuels in the surrounding areas.  All of the burn units under consideration for this spring are near the Spotted Bear Ranger Station on south and west aspects.

For more information about these projects, contact the appropriate Ranger Station:

Hungry Horse/Glacier View Ranger District: 406/387-3800

Tally Lake Ranger District: 406/758-5204

Swan Lake Ranger District: 406/837-7500

Spotted Bear Ranger District: 406/758-5376

For precise prescribed fire ignition dates and times, follow our Facebook and Twitter profiles at

https://www.facebook.com/discovertheflathead and https://twitter.com/FlatheadNF.  General forest information can be found online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/flathead.

Article written by