HELENA – Fire personnel have announced they will conduct another prescribed burn starting Wednesday.

Don’t be alarmed, forest officials said heavy dark smoke will be visible throughout the day because of the heavy slash and fuels on the ground.  The burn is, however, a lower intensity-type burn.

National forest workers will conduct the controlled burn near York and Jimtown Road starting Thursday.

Local forest service officials are hoping to get a jump start on the 2017 summer fire season by lighting controlled burns this spring. The burn is part of a series of scheduled burns in the Helena and Townsend areas.

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Controlled burns help reduce the risk of future wildfires and provide better forage for elk herds and numerous other wildlife species.

Because of pine beetle infestations many of the trees in the Helena and Townsend area have died creating a hazard for potential wildfires. Reducing the amount of available fuels aids in the reduction of potentially large, high intensity wildfires.

Stay updated by checking with the Lewis and Clark National Forest Facebook page.