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Lewistown Field Office
Release Date: 03/29/13
Contacts: Brad Purdy    
  Steven Knox    

BLM to Conduct Prescribed Burns in Area

The Bureau of Land Management’s Lewistown Field Office and Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument are planning several prescribed burns on BLM-managed land in Fergus and Petroleum counties during the upcoming spring months.

The primary objectives of the planned burn treatments are to reduce conifers that are expanding into sagebrush/grassland habitats, and to promote biodiversity.  Smoke from the burns may be visible to the public on days of ignition.  The burns are planned for the following areas:

North of the Tin Can Hill Road in the Blood Creek drainage, approximately 12 miles north-northeast of Winnett, MT.  The BLM has two burns proposed totaling about 3,000 acres.  In addition to reducing conifer expansion into the sagebrush/grasslands, these burn treatments will improve or maintain the condition class of the Ponderosa Pine stands by decreasing stand density and reducing potentially harmful ladder fuels.

Approximately 11 miles north of Winifred, MT in the Whisky Ridge area.  The planned burn area is approximately 3,000 acres and lies within the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.

The timing of the burns depends on weather and fuel conditions.  Generally the spring prescribed burning season begins in early to mid-April and concludes in June due to vegetation green-up.

“The relatively recent expansion of conifers into mid-elevation sagebrush and grassland is very apparent when comparing current conditions to those recorded in past studies and photos,” said Steve Knox of the Lewistown Field Office.  “The conifer expansion can be attributed, at least in part, to the near exclusion of fire.  The BLM uses prescribed fire as a tool to maintain the existing sagebrush and grasslands, and to promote biodiversity across the broader landscape.”

The prescribed burns will be implemented and closely monitored by fire managers and firefighters from the BLM, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, Montana DNRC and local fire departments.  The BLM is required to obtain a burn permit each year from Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), allowing the BLM to burn from March 1 to December 1.  Each burn needs to be pre-approved a day before ignition is to occur, and depends on air quality conditions.

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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 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.

Lewistown Field Office   920 NE Main      Lewistown, Montana 59457  

Last updated: 03-29-2013