(LEWISTOWN, Mt.) - The Bureau of Land Management’s Central Montana Fire Zone is accepting public comments concerning the Raintrap Pasture Prescribed Fire Environmental Assessment # DOI-BLM-MT-L070-2011-0013-EA.
The project area is located in southern Blaine County about 15 miles west of Hays, Montana, and includes approximately 3,333 acres located in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
Prescribed fire would be used to improve or maintain Fire Regime Condition Class, reduce hazardous wildfire fuel loadings, and improve rangeland and wildlife habitat in the project area. Treatment in forested vegetation types would target juniper, ladder fuels (including small-diameter conifers and seedlings), and dead and down woody fuels. Treatment in adjacent rangelands would reduce conifer encroachment and increase diversity in herbaceous cover.
The project objectives are to: reintroduce fire into a fire-adapted ecosystem; reduce heavy ladder fuels and closed forest canopies; create a mosaic of diverse plant communities (age, structure, successional levels); reduce conifer and juniper encroachment into shrub and grassland areas occupied by Greater Sage-Grouse; increase forage production and improve distribution of wildlife and livestock; and reduce hazardous fuel loadings to improve public and firefighter safety.
“Using prescribed fire for hazardous fuels treatment and habitat management is essential to maintaining vegetation diversity and a healthy landscape in a fire-adapted ecosystem” said John Seemann, Fuels Specialist with the Central Montana Fire Zone.
Project implementation is scheduled to occur in the Spring of 2014, or subsequent years, depending on weather, personnel availability, and vegetation conditions. The comment period will end on December 27, 2013. Please provide written comments by this date. A copy of the
EA is scheduled to be posted December 11, 2013 on the BLM’s website at:
Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment -- including your personal identifying information -- may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
For additional information, contact John Seemann, Fuels Specialist at 406-538-1944, or Steve Knox, Fuels Program Manager at 406-538-1976.
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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2014, the BLM generated $5.2 billion in receipts from public lands.