Pile Burning Begins on Yellowstone and Gardiner Ranger Districts
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: January 3, 2022

Livingston & Gardiner, MT (January 03, 2022) – Snowfall and cooler weather is welcome after the busy fire season.  With winter underway, fire and fuels managers on the Yellowstone and Gardiner Ranger Districts of the Custer Gallatin National Forest will be pile burning starting this week.

“Pile burning is taking place mainly to reduce hazardous fuels and enhance defensible space,” said Bob Culbreth, Zone Fire Management Officer. “Burning was planned for the fall, but conditions haven’t permitted it until now, so we are happy to move forward with reducing fuels in these critical areas on the landscape.”

Pile burning on the Yellowstone District is planned south of Big Timber, MT in the East Boulder, Elk Creek, and Derby Gulch areas, along with south of Livingston, near the Snowbank Trailhead in the Mill Creek Drainage.  In the Crazy Mountains, piles will be burned in the Smith Creek and Upper Shields River area, as well as Half Moon Campground in Big Timber Canyon.

The East Boulder piles will finish the remaining slash piles from commercial timber harvest, reducing hazardous fuels and improving defensible space along the road corridor, including near transmission line infrastructure and the Sibanye Stillwater East Boulder Mine.  The Elk Creek area will address up to 1,000 hand piles over 70 acres: further reducing fuels on the landscape, promoting aspen regeneration, improving forest health and ultimately increasing wildlife forage.

On the Gardiner Ranger District, piles will be burned at the OTO Homestead, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  This work is focused on small diameter conifers to improve defensibility around the homestead in the event of a wildfire.  Weather and fuel conditions will be closely monitored, and no area closures are associated with the pile burning.

Fire officials would also like to remind individuals to be diligent with extinguishing campfires.  Last fall, we had several escaped campfires that had potential to damage resources on public and private land.  Never leave a fire until it is cold to the touch. To report an abandoned campfire or wildfire call Bozeman Interagency Dispatch at 406-624-3830 or 911.  For additional information contact the Gardiner Ranger District at 406-848-7375 and the Yellowstone Ranger District at 406-222-1892.