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Join NRFSN and prescribed fire experts from the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, and the University of Montana for a day of discussion about planning and implementing prescribed burns in lodgepole or subalpine forests with mixed- or high-severity regimes. We’ll discuss the latest science and practices for working in these fuel types.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Burn objectives: when, where and why should we use prescribed fire in these ecosystems?
  • The planning process: developing the burn plan, site selection, ecological need, fuel treatment need, resource concerns, etc.
  • Implementation: burn prep, burn operations, weather considerations, successes and lessons learned.
  • Post-burn: fire effects, follow-up management, ecological/resource objectives and outcomes.

In an effort to keep these field trips relatively small and local in light of COVID-19 concerns, we are offering the field trip in two locations: 1) Wales Creek Wilderness Study Area in the Blackfoot watershed east of Missoula, MT; and 2) Good Creek drainage north of Whitefish, MT. Participant numbers may be limited due to COVID-19 precautions and site logistics

We will follow current, local CDC COVID-19 guidelines and consider participants’ safety and comfort levels when traveling.


Wales Creek Wilderness Study Area: The field trip will take place near Chamberlain Mountain in the Blackfoot watershed approximately 1.5 hours east of Missoula, Montana. Participants will park and carpool to the burn from a location to be determined. Due to limited parking and rough access roads, participants will not be able to drive their own rigs to the burn. Space on this field trip will be limited. The field trip itself will involve approximately 2 miles of hiking on a trail over uneven terrain and fallen logs. In addition to the questions and topics shown in the field trip description above, presenters will address issues around prescribed burn implementation in a Wilderness Study Area without pre-treatment or thinning. The Wales Creek prescribed burn was implemented in September 2019 and covered about 688 acres of lodgepole/subalpine forest at ~6,500 ft elevation. This seminar provides more information on the burn and will be required as pre-work for participants.

Good Creek Drainage: This field trip will start near the town of Olney, Montana with carpooling from Whitefish for those coming from the south. Group size can be larger and there is more parking available for this trip. We’ll be walking ~2.5 miles roundtrip to visit several prescribed burn units, some with pre-burn harvests and some without. We’ll walk a few hundred feet into the stands, otherwise most walking will be on a dirt road. A few vehicles will be able to drive the route as well.  We will cover burn objectives, implementation concerns, tradeoffs of burning with/out harvesting, post-burn ecological effects, and planting for resiliency. The units are dominated by lodgepole with mixed Douglas-fir and shrubfields. Two units were burned in 2000 and 2014 and two are being prepped for prescribed burn in the next few years.

Registration is now closed. Please email if you would like to inquire about attending the field trip.


Event Details

Jun 16 2022, 9am - 5pm

Outside of Missoula or Whitefish, MT



Missoula: Signe Leirfallom

Whitefish: Cory Davis

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