NewsMontana and Regional News


Public comments solicited for Little Rockies Forest Management Project

Little Rockies Fire Station
Posted at 10:52 AM, Apr 18, 2024

ZORTMAN — The Bureau of Land Management is asking for public input on a project to mitigate wildland fires and fuel in the Little Rocky Mountains. The project area covers the surrounding communities of Zortman and Lundusky.

The Little Rockies Forest Health Project is part of the BLM's ongoing effort to keep public lands healthy and accessible by improving forest conditions and minimizing the threat of catastrophic wildfire.

According to a news release from the BLM Malta Field Office — the project actions being considered focus on creating fuel breaks in the landscape to prevent widlfire spread and fuel loading of fire intensity.

The project is also targeting Wildland Urban Interface projects to better protect structures and private land. BLM proposed forest health would improve by treating aspen stands and natural openings for conifer encroachment and implementing stand density reduction treatments in mature stands.

The news release listed these as proposed actions included in the project:

  • Shaded fuel break around communities of Zortman and Landusky, and Whitcom Cabin.
  • Creating a fuel break along Beaver Pond Road and Landusky Plateau.
  • Maintaining previous fuels treatments: Old Burn RX (2010), Chimney Gulch (2009), Hog Gulch (2009), Dry Gulch (2009) and Silver Peak 1& 2 (2009).
  • Reducing conifer encroachment in aspen stands to reduce species competition and restore aspen dominance in specific areas.
  • Reducing conifer encroachment in natural openings to restore species diversity and maintain bighorn sheep forage production and use.
  • Providing wood products to be used by local communities through green firewood sales. In addition, traditional timber sales and stewardship contracts may be used to facilitate the commercial removal of forest products.
  • Removing hazard trees (i.e., dead trees, trees with substantial defects, or dying trees) near roads, trails, campgrounds and other infrastructure.

For more information and a description of the proposed project with related maps are available here.

The public comment/input period is open from April 18 through May 2. To submit online input, click here to participate.