Glacier Park Plans Prescribed Burns in North Fork

Burns intended to improve pine regeneration and native grasslands

By Beacon Staff

If you see smoke emanating from the North Fork in Glacier National Park in the next few weeks, there’s a good chance it’s part of a couple of planned burns for the area.

Two prescribed fire projects are planned along the Inside North Fork Road area of Glacier National Park in the next month, depending on weather and fuel conditions, according to a press release.

National Park Service (NPS) fire crews plan to burn 100 acres in the vicinity of Sullivan Meadow, approximately two miles east of Logging Ranger Station. The primary objectives of the burn are to reduce the number of understory trees serving as “ladders for fire” underneath mature ponderosa pine; to thin out trees that established after the 1999 Anaconda Fire and the 2001 Moose Fire; and to expose mineral soil to provide a seed bed for natural ponderosa pine regeneration.

A second prescribed burn of approximately 70 acres is proposed in Round Prairie, roughly eight miles northwest of Polebridge. The primary objective of this burn is to reduce the density of young trees that are encroaching on the native prairie grassland. Managers also hope to reduce the sagebrush within the prairie while improving the vigor of the native grasses and forbs.

These prescribed burns will only take place if optimum weather and smoke dispersal parameters are met, the park asserted.