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By Mark Moran - Producer-Editor, Contact - News


Big Sky Connection - Montana is spending more than $3 million to help state and private land owners cooperate on a cohesive plan to manage the threat of wildfire in Montana's forest communities. The money comes from a larger pool of funding designed to take a big-picture approach to reducing the risks. Comments from Wyatt Frampton, deputy division administrator, forestry and trust lands, Montana Department of Natural Resources.

Click on the image above for the audio.  Tiny particulate matter in wildfire smoke can lodge deep in the lungs and cause serious respiratory problems. (Adobe Stock)

Mark Moran

April 4, 2024 - The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has awarded $3.1 million for 13 projects to reduce wildfire risk to communities and improve forest health.

The funding money is part of the $15 million Montana Forest Action Plan, which takes a big-picture approach to reducing the risk of wildfires.

Wyatt Frampton, deputy division administrator of forestry and trust lands for the Montana Department of Natural Resources, said the money will be used to foster fire-management cooperation between state and private landowners across 3,200 acres of forest.

"Through a variety of activities, such as prescribed fire, logging, mechanical thinning, hand activities as well as tree planting," Frampton outlined.

The 13 most recent restoration projects are spread across the state, including in Lewis and Clark County, the Bitterroot and the South Swan Valley.

Frampton said the DNR is aiming to create a cohesive fire-reduction plan across Montana's landscape, which has until now been inconsistent because of different sets of land-management practices.

"Right now when we see a patchwork of treatments across some of the landscapes in the state, from a fire-management perspective, it doesn't create a clean or effective barrier for trying to stop the fire in that area," Frampton explained. "Where, if we had a cohesive landscape-level treatment, that would help."

Frampton added having a statewide cohesive fire-management plan would also allow the DNR and other agencies to slow the spread of potentially destructive insects in Montana's forests.

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