Specialists developing a fuel reduction project to reduce fire danger for homes north of Whitefish and to protect the city’s watershed held an open house Wednesday evening.
About 30 people showed up and to share thoughts and have questions answered about the timber sale and prescribed burning project. The area of treatment involves about 300 acres of logging and about 800 acres of prescribed burning.
Among them were Whitefish’s representative to the Montana House Ed Lieser attend the open house.
“We are going to see wildfires, that is just the nature of the ecosystem we live in, its going to burn," Lieser said. "But we have an opportunity to do it on our terms.”
The project is widely supported by the locals who live in the area near the proposed fuel reduction. Steve Bryson has lived near the area of the Haskill Basin since the late 1980s.
“The watershed of second and third creek is so important to protect," Bryson said. "If there was a catastrophic wildfire the city wouldn’t be able to use that water for years.”
The comments received at the open house will be digested over the next few months. An official project proposal will be released this winter. A decision and implementation on the project is likely in late 2016. This project can use authority granted in the 2014 Farm Bill that accelerates a project timeframe more quickly than a standard Forest Service project.