The "Meadow Vapor" Project is a new Bitterroot National Forest project planned for about 8,400 acres in the East Fork of the Bitterroot Valley. Officials are accepting public comment until December 18.

According to a news release, the plan includes harvest and thinning, slash pile and prescribe burning about 3,200 acres in the proposed area to accomplish a number of goals:

  • Reduce hazardous fuels in the Wildland Urban Interface.
  • Improve forest resilience to fire, insects and disease
  • Manage timber to provide products, jobs and income locally.
  • Help long term concerns about mature and old growth ponderosa pine and douglas fir
  • Improve watershed by improving some roads and decommissioning others.
  • The East Fork drainage includes dense pockets of dead and dying trees due to insects and severe western spruce budworm damage. The project would provide about 5 million board feet of timber (1,000 truckloads) to sawmills, according to Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest.

    McKay said the Bitterroot Community Wildfire Protection Plan identified the area as "high priority" for fuel reduction. And there have been requests from East Fork residents to remove hazardous fuels near their homes.

    Comments can be sent to Eric Winthers, Darby/Sula Ranger District at P.O. Box 388, Darby MT 59829 or fax (406) 821-4264. Check out more information at the Bitterroot National Forest website.