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By Bill Wall
President, Clearwater Resource Council 

Grants Available for Fuels Reduction

Guest Column

 


SEELEY LAKE - Seeley Lake is an amazing and beautiful place, surrounded by millions of acres of forests and wilderness. These forests are natural habitat for our incredible diversity of wildlife and provide migration corridors for many of these species. These forests naturally burn, but in many places are also thick with trees, underbrush and ladder fuels that present a real danger of wildfire.

As the summer temperatures increase and our snowpack melts, the possibility of wildfire becomes a concern that each of us faces annually. Last summer the U.S. Forest Service fought a fire on Richmond Ridge, just a few miles from the heart of Seeley Lake. Many of you will remember the Jocko Lakes fire in 2007 when Seeley Lake was evacuated.

 Clearwater Resource Council (CRC) has been working over the past few years to bring federal and state funding to Seeley Lake to help landowners, like you, to selectively thin dangerous fire fuels, and thus reduce the risk of wildfires in and around our community. This has the added benefit of improving the overall health of many of our forests.

Many of the properties in and around Seeley Lake are in high-risk areas, and qualify for matching dollars to thin forests for fire fuel mitigation. We have already brought in more than $2,000,000 to this community to help with fire fuels reduction. So far, we have helped Seeley Lake residents to thin 348 acres of land but have money to do more work.

Much of this money has gone directly to local contractors and their employees with the added benefit of helping our economy.

 Your land may qualify for some of these funds. We all must work together to create a fire safe community.

CRC has money currently available to provide matching funds for fuel mitigation and is looking for qualifying lands and landowners who are interested in protecting their land and our community from wildfire. The funding process is simple. If you are interested in applying for some of these funds, we can provide an application and send our community forester to your home to evaluate your land and explain the fuel mitigation process. We can also provide you with contact information for a number of qualified contractors who can complete the fuel reduction work for you.

The applications are available online at https://crcmt.org/uploads/FuelsTaskForce_GrantApp.pdf

They can also be obtained from the Seeley Lake Rural Fire District Office, 200 Firehouse Lane, or The Hub of Seeley Lake located in the Bison and Bear Center.

If you are interested in hearing more about CRC’s fuel mitigation program and finding out how it might help you protect your land from wildfire, please contact CRC at 406-677-0069 or CRC’s Community Forester: Signe Leirfallom at signe@crcmt.org  

 

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