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Date:  March 2, 2009
Steve Knox (406) 538-1976

Lewistown BLM Plans Prescribed Burning for Spring 2009

Weather permitting, the Bureau of Land Management’s Lewistown Field Office is planning to conduct several prescribed burns over the next three months in central and north-central Montana.  

The BLM has these prescribed fires planned in Fergus, Blaine, Petroleum, and Phillips counties this spring. 
Petroleum County: The largest project planned is the 1,750 acre Cottonwood Creek prescribed fire in Petroleum County, approximately 20 miles NE of Winnett in the Tin Can Hill area. The primary objective of the Cottonwood Creek project is to reduce the available fuel load in the event of a summer wildfire; as well as reducing the stand density of ponderosa pine and the conifer encroachment of adjacent meadows and rangelands. 
Blaine County: The 1,700 acre Lion Coulee prescribed fire project, located near Leroy, has similar fuels reduction objectives and will also treat timbered areas that were damaged by a strong wind event during the summer of 2002. 
Fergus County: Prescribed fire projects in Fergus County include burning approximately 200 acres of logging slash in the South Fork Flatwillow area and 168 acres of logging slash in the Iron Gulch area in the North Moccasin Mountains. 
Phillips County: The 860 acre Guston Coulee prescribed fire project near Malta, is designed to reduce the amounts of cactus and cheat grass within the allotment. This prescribed fire will be conducted during the summer months, if weather conditions and fire danger ratings are conducive to the safe burning. A summer burn under drier and warmer conditions is more likely to be successful in reducing cactus than if the burn was conducted during the traditional spring burning season.
The Landusky Plateau prescribed burn (about 10 acres) and the Zortman Subdivision prescribed burn (about 50 acres) are ongoing projects the BLM plans to complete this year. The objectives are to reduce slash from thinning and logging operations.  
The Old Burn prescribed fire is a new project that will be implemented this spring if weather permits. It is located just southwest of the Landusky dump and is about 240 acres in size, most of which was burned in a previous wildfire. The objectives for this fire include reducing fuels within the wild land urban interface and maintaining open stands of ponderosa pine.
All of these prescribed burns are designed to reduce the amount of hazardous fuels available in the event of wildfire and to improve forest and rangeland health conditions. 

For further information contact Steve Knox, BLM fuels program manager at (406) 538-1976.