Weyerhaeuser Company announced Tuesday that it is prohibiting public access on its lands in Western Montana due to the extreme fire danger.
The closure is effective immediately in Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Missoula, Sanders and Ravalli counties and will remain in effect until further notice, the company said.
The limited forest access will impact hunters seeking to go afield on the vast swath of Weyerhaeuser lands across the region. Big game archery season began last weekend.
Earlier this year Weyerhaeuser agreed to extend free public access on many of its lands across the state by renewing a longstanding contract with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks through the state’s block management program. The agreement, which was voluntarily renewed by Plum Creek for decades, allows hunters and other recreationists to access the private land in exchange for state game wardens patrolling the property. Of those lands, the block management agreement allows public access on roughly 700,000 Weyerhaeuser acres in this corner of the state and more than 50,000 acres near Missoula through May 2018.
Fires continue to rage across the region and Flathead County decided Tuesday to declare a state of emergency.