Blog Cabin

Entries in Lolo National Forest (10)


Forest Service plans to replant a portion of Lolo Peak Fire burn

Dennis Bragg photo (MISSOULA)- The Forest Service is going to move forward with plans to re-plant nearly 8-thousand acres of timberlands that burned in last summer's Lolo Peak Fire. 

The fire burned over 53,000 acres, after it was started by a mid-July lightning storm. The blaze burned for weeks, destroying two homes and eight outbuildings when it flared up along the Northern Bitterroot Mountain Front in early August. 

While much of the fire burned in the backcountry, and high elevation areas that limit access, there are portions of the burn which forest managers say could benefit from replanting. 

The Forest Service is proposing to clear out underbrush, remove dead and dying trees and plant native species like Ponderosa and Western Larch that are more fire resistant than Douglas Fir which made up much of the timber that burned so fiercely. 

Lolo National Forest is taking public comment on the replanting plans for the next month. 



Forest Service rejects latest Bitterroot Resort proposal

(LOLO)- The Forest Service has rejected the latest proposal for skiing on the lower slopes of Lolo Peak, saying the plans still don't match with management goals for the area. 

Last spring, developer Tom Maclay pitched a new version of his proposal to develop ski facilities on the mountains southwest of Lolo, the third time he's tried to get the Forest Service to sign off on his plans. The first two were rejected because of conflicts with environmental management around Carlton Ridge.

In the request to "screen" the latest proposal for further review, Maclay said SUPPRB, or the Special Use Permit for Public Resort Benefits, would operate solely on National Forest land, using existing roads with shuttle buses to the lifts. He also proposed a lodge and restaurant on the mountain. 

But in a letter sent to Maclay, supervisors of both the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests say the proposal "isn't consistent" with the standards for further review by the Forest Service. 

The failure of the earlier proposals put the Maclay Ranch in foreclosure and the land remains up for sale with an asking price of $22-million. 


Homes destroyed in Lolo fire blow up

Dennis Bragg photo(LOLO)- Authorities say some structures, including homes, were destroyed when two fires burning up Lolo Canyon merged into a complex fire covering more than 3500-acres.

High winds and low humidity helped the West Fork 2 Fire jump Highway 12 near Bear Creek this afternoon, merging with the Schoolhouse Fire. Both blazes are believed to have started during a brief thunderstorm late Saturday night. 

Dozens of people have been evacuated, while others have been placed on alert. All homes between Bear Creek and Sleeman Creek have been placed under a pre-evacuation notice.

DNRC says there's a "very high potential" for fire growth on the Lolo Complex Fire with more red flag warnings up for Tuesday afternoon.

Highway 12 remained closed to through traffic west of Lolo.


Lightning starts new fires near Missoula

(MISSOULA)- Fires from lightning storms that have swept through Western Montana in the past week are starting to show up, with crews on the Lolo National Forest spotting several new starts in the past couple of days. 

Firefighters and aircraft have responded to several new fire starts on the Superior and Ninemile Ranger districts.

The largest fire, the Freeze Out Fire, is approximately two acres and located near Prospect Mountain 15 miles south of Slowey Campground on the Superior Ranger District. Resources responding to that fire Thursday included three helicopters and three Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs). Firefighters are also hiking into the fire, which is reported to be burning on the upper one-third of a slope and showing active fire behavior.

Firefighters also responded to two other fires on the Superior Ranger District that were quickly suppressed with helicopter bucket drops and with firefighters on the ground. Both of those fires have remained less than one acre and still have firefighters assigned to them.

On the Ninemile Ranger District firefighters and aircraft responded to a new fire 13 miles North of Tarkio near Horsehead Peak. Three SEATs and three engines responded to the fire and suppression efforts have been successful so far in stopping fire progression.

No structures are threatened by any of the recent fires and no closures are in place for these fires.


Fight continues this morning on Firestone Flats blaze

KPAX TV photo(ARLEE)- Fire crews are expected to try and take advantage of cooler morning temperatures today as they work to get a handle on the Firestone Flats Fire, which erupted Saturday afternoon northeast of Arlee. 

The fire quickly spread through the foothills, and had consumed nearly 1,500 acres by nightfall. 

KPAX TV reports Lake County authorities had to evacuate more than 20-homes along the upper reaches of the Jocko Lakes Road as the cloud of smoke mushroomed over the valley. Helicopters and SEAT aircraft, or single engine air tankers, were pulled in off others fires burning in the area to get retardant and water on the blaze, while local firefighters and then Lolo Hot Shots from the Forest Service moved in on the ground.

Hot temperatures, very low humidity and gusty winds helped to push the flames rapidly through the timber. Winds are expected to calm today, and that could give firefighters a break. 

Lolo National Forest closed the Jocko Lakes Road at the Seeley Lake end as a safety precaution. This fire is burning west of the major blaze that scorched the Jocko Lakes country in August 2007.