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Date:  April 16, 2008
Contact:  Marilyn Krause  (406) 533-7617    

Prescribed Burns Planned South of Potomac and West of Helmville

Smoke may be visible during the next few weeks in the mountains south of Greenough and west of Helmville. The Missoula Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing for several prescribed burns this spring. The first burn is in the Elk Creek and Keno Creek drainage about 10 miles southeast of Greenough, and is 40 acres in size. 

The second burn is 300 acres and located in the McElwain Creek drainage, while the third burn is located in the Murray Creek drainage and is 110 aces. The McElwain and Murray Creek drainages are both 10 miles west of Helmville. Each of these burns will take up to five days to complete and will take place when weather and fuel conditions are favorable, but could occur anytime over the next two months.

The prescribed burns will reduce the amount of vegetation in the area. By removing the small, “ladder fuels” and down, woody debris, the risk of large wildfires is also reduced. Fuels specialists are attempting to restore the historic conditions characterized by large diameter ponderosa pine and Douglas fir with intermittent openings.

Fire fighters will ignite these prescribed burns by hand, using drip torches and by air using a helitorch, a device mounted on a helicopter that can cover a large area efficiently. If you have questions, or want more information about these prescribed burns, please contact Shelagh Fox or Michael Albritton at the Missoula Field Office, phone 329-3914.

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