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Fire Adapted Bitterroot (FAB)

Fire Adapted Bitterroot (FAB) seeks to address forest health and wildfire risk in three main areas of Ravalli County in Western Montana. This proposal will actively treat fuels on 1,350 acres on the east side of the valley in year 1 (2022), 3,250 acres in the southern valley in year 2 (2023), and 4,000 acres on the west side of the main valley in year 3 (2024).

Fire Adapted Bitterroot (FAB) seeks to address forest health and wildfire risk in three main areas of Ravalli County in Western Montana. This proposal will actively treat fuels on 1,350 acres on the east side of the valley in year 1 (2022), 3,250 acres in the southern valley in year 2 (2023), and 4,000 acres on the west side of the main valley in year 3 (2024).

The desired outcome is to increase forest health and landscape resiliency, provide for public and firefighter safety, reduce fire risk to communities, improve wildlife habitat, contribute to community viability with forest products and jobs, and increase recreation opportunities - all while restoring fire to our fire dependent ecosystems.

This proposal focuses on lower elevation fire adapted forest systems that are comprised of primarily overstocked ponderosa pine with Douglas-fire encroachments that have missed one or more fire return interval. The Bitterroot Valley has 300,920 priority area acres identified by the Montana Forest Action Plan and 5 of the top 10 Firesheds facing the most wildfire risk in Montana. (See Map 1 - Fire Adapted Bitterroot Fire Risk)

This threat - combined with unprecedented growth and new home construction that extends to the boundary of the Bitterroot National Forest (BNF) - highlights why we need action across all ownerships.

Proposed fuel reduction treatments (USFS + NRCS = 10,130 acres over 3 years), while not wall to wall, will address fuel loading and fire risk and take another critical step to increasing fire's role on the landscape.

The project will also increase the success of future wildfire suppression operations to protect critical infrastructure that occur in or adjacent to these treated landscapes.

Partners: Ravalli County Collaborative, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), FWP, and the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), Bitterroot Conservation District, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Wild Sheep Foundation, Ravalli Resource Advisory Committee

  • FY 2022
  • FY 2022 Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Project
  • Total FY22 Funding Request: $1,438,575
Montana: Bitterroot National Forest, Ravalli County
Filed under: Wildland Fire, Research