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Salvage on Liberty Fire Proposed


March 15, 2018

The Lolo National Forest is proposing to harvest trees burned by the Liberty fire and plant seedlings within the fire perimeter. The project is located on the Lolo National Forest Seeley Lake and Missoula Ranger Districts, 13 miles southwest of Seeley Lake.

The Liberty Fire was ignited by lightning on July 15, 2017. The fire burned approximately 28,694 acres: 9,452 acres was National Forest System (NFS) land, 6,859 acres of private land and 12,378 acres of Flathead Agency land.

About 61 percent of the Liberty fire burned areas the LNF allocated as suitable for timber production in the Forest Plan. Consideration to salvage burned timber is therefore appropriate.

The Liberty Fire Salvage project is located within Missoula County on the Seeley Lake Ranger District. LNF land makes up 52 percent of the land base of this county. Thus, local communities have significant social and economic ties to Forest Service lands. Forest products resulting from management on federal lands contribute to the local economy and to the sustainability of the forest products industry.

Proposed Action

Harvesting dead and dying trees is proposed on approximately 250 acres. All of this harvest would be done using ground-based logging systems.

Although all units would be accessed from existing roads, about 0.45 miles of temporary road construction may be needed to shorten the skidding distances within one of the proposed harvest units.

Tree planting is proposed on approximately 6,600 acres within the fire perimeter, including all areas identified for salvage. Because of the extensive areas of high tree mortality and the type of tree species on site prior to the fire, the seed source is now limited in some areas. Depending on site conditions, western larch, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir and whitebark pine seedlings may be planted.

The proposed activities would likely begin in late summer of 2018, with harvest and associated activities completed in one to two years. Tree planting could occur for up to 10 years or more depending on funding and availability of planting stock.

Provide comments addressing the proposed action by April 4, 2018. To receive future mailings about this project, please send comments or request to remain on the mailing list.

Submit comments to: Tami Paulsen, Team Leader, 24 Fort Missoula Road, Missoula, MT

59804, facsimile: 406-329-1049. Electronic comments maybe sent to: Comments can be hand delivered to either the Seeley Lake or Missoula Ranger Districts Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., (except federal holidays). Acceptable formats for electronic comments include word perfect, rtf or MS word. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record and will be available for public inspection.

For more information, please contact Tami Paulsen, Team Leader, at 406-329-3731 or visit the Lolo National Forest website at The maps posted there can be enlarged to see greater detail.


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