Thompson Falls, Mont. Sept. 22, 2022— The Lolo National Forest has issued a Decision on the Thorne Creek Fire Salvage Project located on the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District near Thompson Falls, MT. The Decision authorizes 548 acres of salvage treatments and 5,000 acres of new tree planting. The salvage will recover commercial value after the 2021 Thorne Creek Wildfire. Eighty-seven of the 548 acres will also include some commercial thinning of live trees to prevent further insect infestation. The project will occur along the Thompson River County Road (CR 56) and the Liver Ridge Road (NFSR #7657) above the Thompson River.
In the summer of 2021, the Thorne Creek Fire burned nearly 40,000 acres during a record dry summer in western Montana. However, this area remains a popular local destination for activities such as recreation, firewood collection, mushroom picking, hunting, and forest management. To continue to facilitate and provide access for these activities, the project will remove dead and dying trees along popular motorized routes to mitigate hazards and recover valuable wood product to support the local economy.
“This area continues to be a popular recreation destination despite the impacts of the fire. This project will not only provide wood products to the local economy, but it will also address and mitigate potential hazards along access routes that are heavily used,” stated Dave Wrobleski, Plains/Thompson Falls District Ranger. “After the sale is complete, planting will occur in these areas to encourage regeneration of the forest.”
Up to 5,000 acres of replanting may occur depending on natural seeding conditions and will happen throughout the Thorne Creek Fire area, focused on areas where future harvest is suitable and on potential recovery of Whitebark pine. The project also includes four miles of roadside hazard tree mitigation harvest along Liver Ridge Road where the salvage treatments will occur. One-half mile of temporary road will be constructed to access salvage areas.
The Lolo National Forest plans to advertise the sale in late September and implementation will occur as soon as fall of 2022. For more information, please visit the Lolo National Forest Projects Page or call the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District at 406-826-3821.