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The Missoula Ranger District is conducting prescribed burning on about 40 acres one-quarter mile north of the Crazy Canyon trailhead in Pattee Canyon, beginning today and continuing as weather conditions allow.

Smoke from today's burn is visible in town, and of course, in the canyon.

The burning is intended to reduce the potential for future wildfire, along with achieving ecosystem restoration objectives. Ignition takes place only if operational safety, air quality parameters, weather and fuel moisture conditions can be attained.

The first phase of the burn will be 40 acres, followed by an additional 40 acres at a later date. The understory burn will reintroduce low-intensity surface fire to the area, reduce surface fuel concentrations, promote ponderosa pine regeneration and rejuvenate forest floor vegetation.

Road signs are posted in the area and recreationists are asked to be aware of fire crew operations and vehicle traffic near the Crazy Canyon trailhead area and on adjacent forest roads. During the ignition period there will be limited access to hiking trails 302.3, 302.5 and 302.6.

Fire managers hope to conduct the burning quickly, with limited impact to recreation users in the Pattee Canyon area.

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