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Forest Service West Fork Fire Salvage and Restoration Project

Contact(s): Nate Gassmann

Libby, Mont., July 2, 2018  — Kootenai National Forest, Forest Supervisor Christopher Savage is pleased to announce he has signed the decision for the West Fork Fire Salvage and Restoration Project located on the Libby Ranger District. The signed decision provides reforestation and restoration opportunities to steer the forest toward desired conditions as described in the Kootenai National Forest 2015 Land Management Plan. This decision focuses on areas where treatments would be the most effective on the landscape while minimizing impacts to forest resources.

“I am pleased to announce the completion of the West Fork Fire project,” said Kootenai Forest Supervisor Christopher Savage. “This is the first of three projects from the Kootenai National Forest that are focused on fire salvage from last year’s fires. Salvaging these fire-killed trees will provide local and regional economic opportunities to communities and businesses affected by last year’s devastating wildfires.”

The West Fork Fire Salvage and Restoration Project was developed with extensive public involvement. Public involvement helped develop the modified proposed action and inform the Environmental Assessment (EA) and decision. These efforts included discussions with Tribes, local, state and county government, general public, local collaborative groups, and timber industry representatives.

Salvage projects protect the health and safety of the public, by removing hazardous burned trees along trails and roads, recover the remaining economic value of forest products in a timely manner to contribute to employment and income in local communities, while restoring portions of the landscape. This project will include salvaging approximately 3,120 acres of dead and dying trees for recovery of economic value, removing hazardous trees (880 acres) along 29 miles of road, and providing 4,100 acres for reforestation.

Implementation of this decision is expected to begin in August and last up to two years. The Forest Service advanced the process under the Emergency Situation Determination (ESD), which was approved by the Interim Chief of the Forest Service. Adjacent to project areas, travelers should be alert for increased vehicle traffic, including log trucks. The updated EA and Decision, along with supporting documentation is available on the Kootenai National Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/kootenai/landmanagement/projects. For more information about this project, contact Libby District Ranger Nate Gassmann at (406) 2893-7598.



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