MISSOULA – A year after fires roared through Western Montana burning hundreds of thousands of acres, the US Forest Service says it will be salvaging more than 100 million board feet of marketable lumber.
More than 250,000 acres burned in just the major fires in the Missoula region last year, including the massive Rice Ridge fire, the Lolo Peak fire, the Sunrise fire near Superior and the Sheep Gap fire west of Plains.
USFS leaders say they’ll be salvaging over 14,000 acres of burned timber impacted by last year’s fire season. In figures released yesterday, that amounts to 116 million board feet spread across five different fire areas.
The projects are made possible using an “Emergency Situation Determination”, which also allows for reforestation or nearly 24,000 acres and the removal of more than hazard trees on more than 300 miles of forest roads.
Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) , who pushed for quick action on the salvage projects even as the fires were burning last year, says he’s “thankful” the USFS has responded quickly to his request to make the timber salvage projects happen.
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News