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Fall prescribed fire planned on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests

No closures with burning activities, but roads and trails impacted will be signed

Crew igniting a prescribed burn on public land.

Credit: U.S. Forest Service
Crew igniting a prescribed burn on public land.

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Specific information on the location and timing of these prescribed burns are available at each of the district offices: North Fork Ranger District – Brandon Skinner or TC Peterson, 208-476-4541; Lochsa Ranger Station – Sean Gaines or Neal Cox, 208-926-4274; Moose Creek Ranger District – Tim Schaeffer or Joseph Sullivan, 208-926-4258; Salmon River Ranger District – Richard Stiles or Graydon Galloway, 208-983-1950; Powell Ranger Station – Matt Young or Brandon Cichowski, 208-942-3113; Red River Ranger District – Josh Bransford or Tom McLeod, 208-842-2245; Palouse Ranger District – Lisa Spinelli or Alan Carlson, 208-875-1131.

Weather conditions permitting, fire managers plan to begin prescribed fire operations immediately and through the fall in the Barnard Junction, Moose Kelly, Weitas, and other project areas across the forest. Many of the planned areas have remained relatively untouched by fire for almost a century.

Applying fire in a controlled manner will allow for low to moderate fire behavior and reduce the risk of future catastrophic wildfires. Benefits to the project areas are high and include improving overall forest health, reducing stand densities, and improving wildlife habitat, especially forage for declining elk herds and other wildlife. In addition to landscape treatments, additional prescribed fire treatments will be applied to reduce fuels following timber harvest and site preparation for timber regeneration.

Implementation has been scheduled to take advantage of limited opportunities to apply prescribed fire treatments, as some areas receive 30 to 60 inches of rain annually. Not every acre will burn, but areas treated will benefit from the increased vegetative diversity created by the managed fire.

Residents of Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley are likely to see smoke from the prescribed fire on the North Fork and Lochsa Ranger Districts. Prescribed fire produces smoke, but the smoke is typically visible for a short duration, 3-4 days, and managed to minimize impacts to communities. Prescribed fire and other fuels treatments help to reduce the severity of wildfires and minimize long-term adverse smoke impacts on public health and safety.

Planned treatment areas on the North Fork and Lochsa Ranger Districts are located within remote, roadless areas or areas with very limited road access.

There are no closures associated with burning activities, but roads and trails impacted will be signed. Visitors to these areas should expect to see smoke and increased fire traffic. All forest activity closure information can be found on the forest website at

Acres planned are a total of all acres that will see positive impacts as a result of implementing the prescribed fire. Not every acre will burn or be ignited. The planned prescribed fires by location are as follows:

North Fork Ranger District – 6,500 acres are planned:

  • • Barnard Junction project area – 2,500 south of Kelly Creek Work Center and Kelly Creek
  • • Moose Kelly – 2,000 acres near Hanson Meadows area; along the upper end of Kelly Creek
  • • Long Creek – 2,000 acres near Short Point and Goose Ridge; due east of Cedars Campground
  • • Hand and machine piles will be ignited to reduce post-harvest fuels in the Preacher Dewey – 2 miles east of Pierce, ID; Middle Bugs – 3 miles east of Hemlock Butte Lookout; Junction – 2 miles south of Kelly Creek Work Center; Scurvy – 6.5 miles east of Kelly Creek Work Center

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District – 3,592 acres are planned:

  • • Weitas – 3,000 acres in the Weitas Ridge area north of Liz Butte
  • • Woodrat Harvest Units – 300 acres located 2 miles northwest of Syringa
  • • White White Harvest Units – 100 acres located 2 miles southeast of Musselshell Work Center
  • • Dead Canyon Harvest Units – 68 acres located on Forest Service road 5542, 3 miles southeast of Canyon Junction
  • • Snowy Pete – 124 acres located near Hemlock Lookout, Musselshell Creek, and Eldorado Ridge
  • • Miscellaneous pile burning in various units in the vicinity of Powell

Moose Creek Ranger District – Various machined landing piles from harvest units:

  • • Hot Point Piles – 4 miles south of Lowell
  • • Iron Mtn Piles – 10 miles north of Elk City
  • • Hot Deck Piles – 3 miles south of Lowell
  • • Lodge Point Piles – 4 miles southeast of Syringa
  • • Peterson Point Piles – 6 miles southeast of Lowell
  • • Lowell WUI Piles – 1 mile east of Lowell
  • • Fenn Admin Piles – near the Fenn Ranger Station
  • • Wash Piles – 12 miles north of Elk City

Salmon River Ranger District – 936 acres are planned:

  • • French Liquor Timber Sale – 64 acres northeast of Riggins near Florence Basin
  • • Miller Time Timber Sale – 27 acres northeast of Riggins near Florence Basin
  • • Wickiup - 750 acres located above Highway 14 between mileposts 18 and 21. Those traveling on Highway 14 should expect to encounter fire personnel and equipment. No other impacts to Highway 14 are expected
  • • Pile burning will include roadside piles from the Hanover Fire in 2017. Piles are spread out and adjacent to the 444, 394, and 643 roads in the area of Hanover Fire operations
  • • Machine and hand piles in the Adams STEW Timber Sale near the Adams Camp Work Center will also be burned to reduce post-harvest fuels

Red River Ranger District –

  • • Hand piles will be ignited in many of the campgrounds on the district to reduce fuels from hazard tree removal
  • • Machine and hand pile burning will take place in harvest units in Orogrande, Quagmire salvage, Muddy Moose, Deadwood, and Dutch Oven to reduce post-harvest fuels

Palouse Ranger District –

  • • Hand and machine piles are expected to be burned to reduce fuels in previously harvested or treated areas. Pile locations are in several sale areas at Bluejacket near Harvard; Robo Stew, Uncle Morris, and Upper Basin Sales near Elk River, ID; campgrounds and administrative sites across the District.


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