Stillwater State Forest Plans Prescribed Fire Projects

Montana DNRC officials warn residents that smoke will be visible from across the Flathead Valley

By Beacon Staff
Forested land north of Whitefish Lake. Courtesy Kestrel Aerial

Fire managers with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) warned residents that smoke plumes will be visible from Whitefish and across the Flathead Valley as they complete prescribed fire operations this week.

According to the DNRC’s Stillwater Unit, a prescribed fire burn plan was prepared for each project to “ensure objectives are met and to establish control measures.” Managers will then monitor fuel moisture, temperatures, relative humidity, wind, and forecasted weather systems to determine if conditions are favorable to meet project objectives safely and effectively.

Prescribed fire is used by forest managers to reduce slash generated from forest management activities and prepare treated forest stands for regeneration. Low- to moderate-intensity fire returns nutrients to the soil, releases cone seeds on newly exposed mineral soil, and reduces presence of competing vegetation to better allow new seedlings to establish and thrive, according to the DNRC. The reduction of slash creates breaks in fuel across the landscape and decreases the potential for large fire growth in treated areas. 

“Smoke will be visible from various places in the Flathead Valley,” according to a May 3 press release. “All prescribed burns will follow Montana Air Quality Standards and are coordinated with the Montana State Department of Environmental Quality to reduce the impacts of smoke.”

Fire Location:

Antice Knobs Timber Sale: Unit #5 – (78 acres) Located on the Stillwater State Forest between Stryker Ridge and the Upper Whitefish Lake Roads Smoke will be visible from Whitefish and most of the Flathead Valley.

For more information about activities on the Stillwater Unit call 406-881-2371.

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