The Missoula Ranger District may conduct prescribed burning Sunday in either the Pattee Canyon or Blue Mountain areas if fuel conditions allow. Grass and small fuels are currently too wet for effective burning.
The Blue Mountain site is in the vicinity of the motorcycle trailhead - about three miles east of the Blue Mountain summit - and is about 12 acres. For public safety, there would be limited access to trails 3.04, 3.11, and 6.03 if burning takes place in this area.
The Pattee Canyon burn would cover about 40 acres, in an area about one-quarter mile north of the Crazy Canyon trailhead, the same location of a March 21 prescribed fire by the Missoula Ranger District. If this area is burned, there will be limited access to hiking trails 302.3, 302.5 and 302.6.
The objective of both burns is to reintroduce low intensity surface fire to the area, reduce surface fuel concentrations, promote ponderosa pine regeneration and rejuvenate forest floor vegetation. Fire managers will ignite one of the two burn locations if conditions allow - but not both. Smoke will likely be visible from Missoula if either of these burns takes place.
Ignition will take place only if operational safety, air quality parameters, weather and fuel moisture conditions can be attained.
If conditions allow for ignition prescribed fire road signs will be posted in the area. Recreationists are asked to be aware of fire crew operations and vehicle traffic when burning is taking place.
Fire managers need additional fuel drying before either site can be ignited. But the current weather "window" for this prescribed burn presents conditions to limit smoke impact to the public. Fire managers hope to conduct the burning quickly, with limited impact to recreation users in the Pattee Canyon or Blue Mountain areas.