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Date:  March 30, 2009
Contact: David Abrams (406) 533-7600

BLM Plans Burns Near Dillon
The Bureau of Land Management is planning several prescribed burns in the Dillon area during the upcoming spring months. Though most of the burns are in remote areas, the public may see residual smoke during this time.
The burns are planned for the following areas:
  • The Highland Mountains, near Camp Creek and McCartney Mountain—about 30 miles north of Dillon—approximately 500 acres in size. The primary objective of the prescribed burn is to reduce the number of young conifers that are encroaching sagebrush/grassland habitat. The burns will also promote habitat biodiversity.
  • The Horse Prairie area, near Bannock Pass—about 35 miles southwest of Dillon—approximately 200 acres in size. The primary objective of the prescribed burn is similar to that of the Highland Mountains project.
  • The Wisconsin Creek area, near Sheridan, approximately 300 acres in size. The objectives of this prescribed burn are to reduce conifer encroachment, and to reduce hazardous fuels in the wildland-urban interface.
  • Barton Gulch—about six miles east of Ruby Reservoir—approximately 200 acres in size.   The objectives of this prescribed burn are to consume slash generated by a recent BLM timber sale, reduce hazardous fuels, and to enhance forest health. 
The timing of the burns depends on weather and fuel conditions. Generally, the spring prescribed burning season concludes in June due to vegetation green-up. 

“Evidence of fire is abundant in southwest Montana, indicating that fire once played a distinct role in shaping and maintaining healthy ecosystems,” said Kipper Blotkamp of the Bureau of Land Management’s Dillon Field Office. “BLM is using prescribed fire as a tool to promote biodiversity and ecosystem health, and to reduce heavy fuel loads near private property.”

The prescribed burns will be implemented and closely monitored by fire mangers and firefighters from the BLM, the Forest Service and the Montana DNRC.

For more information on the burns, contact George Johnson or Kipper Blotkamp at the Dillon Field Office at (406) 683-8000.