West Fork Timber Project Will Begin
The Piquett Creek forest project will be starting in the West Fork Ranger District of the Bitterroot National Forest. District Ranger Seth Carbonari signed the Decision Memo to address hazardous fuels buildup and dense tree stands with pockets of dead and dying trees due infestations of western spruce budworm, dwarf mistletoe, Douglas-fir beetle and mountain pine beetle. The plan in the Piquett Creek, Lloyd Creek and West Fork of the Bitterroot watersheds includes commercial timber harvest, non-commercial thinning and prescribed burning on up to 3,000 acres in the 5,800 acre project area. Only temporary roads are planned and those roads will be decommissioned after the project is completed, according to Tod McKay of the Bitterroot Forest.
About 70 percent of the project is in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) about 5 miles southwest of Conner, Montana, which has been ranked as most at risk for wildfire in the state, according to Wildfire Risk to Communities. Bitterroot National Forest worked with the public, local landowners, the Ravalli County Collaborative and Bitterroot Restoration Committee to develop the project. Comment and feedback is welcome by June 19 at Piquett Creek Project, 6735 West Fork Road, Darby, MT 59829. The project plan and maps are online. You can also call (406) 821-3269.