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Dillon Field Office
Release Date: 03/24/10
Contacts: David Abrams 406-533-7617    

Prescribed Burns Planned For Beaverhead And Madison Counties

The Bureau of Land Management is planning several prescribed burns in Beaverhead and Madison counties during the upcoming spring months. Smoke from the burns may be visible to the public on days of ignition.

The burns are planned for the following areas:

  • The Highland Mountains, near McCartney Mountain—about 30 miles north of Dillon—up to 1,000 acres in size. The primary objective of the prescribed burn is to reduce the number of conifers that are encroaching into sagebrush/grassland habitat. The burn will also promote habitat biodiversity. 
  • The Horse Prairie area, near Bannock Pass—about 35 miles southwest of Dillon—approximately 35 acres in size. The primary objective of the prescribed burn is similar to that of the Highland Mountains project.
  • Near Virginia City—two individual units, each approximately 200 acres in size. One unit is in Alder Gulch; the objectives of this prescribed burn are to reduce conifer encroachment, and reduce hazardous fuels in the wildland-urban interface. The burn will promote lighter fuels that offer fire managers a greater range of suppression options in the event of a wildfire. The second unit is in Barton Gulch, about six miles southwest of Virginia City. The objectives of this burn are to consume slash generated by a recent BLM timber sale, reduce hazardous fuels, and to enhance forest health.
  • The west side of Clark Canyon Reservoir, along Highway 324—about 250 acres in the riparian area along Horse Prairie Creek. This burn is planned in conjunction with the Bureau of Reclamation to stimulate new growth of decadent willows and grass.

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.

“Fire exclusion, caused primarily by fire suppression and livestock management on rangelands over the last century, has changed the structure, density, and species composition within fire dependent forest and grassland communities in southwestern Montana,” said Kipper Blotkamp of the Bureau of Land Management’s Dillon Field Office. “The BLM uses prescribed fire as one way 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 managers 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.

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 sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Dillon Field Office   1005 Selway Drive      Dillon, MT 59725   

Last updated: 06-28-2012