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Gov. celebrates increase in forest management projects

 A prescribed fire takes place in Lolo National Forest on Sunday, Sep. 10, 2023
A prescribed fire takes place in Lolo National Forest on Sunday, Sep. 10, 2023

Montana met its forest management goals for the third consecutive year. State officials say they increased the amount of thinning, timber harvests, prescribed burns and restoration projects on forests by 16% over 2022 levels.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation last year placed over 36,000 acres under active forest management.

Gov. Greg Gianforte celebrated the work Tuesday in a tree nursery at DNRC regional headquarters in Missoula.

"This accomplishment would not have been possible without our strong partnerships with local communities, federal agencies and tribal nations," Gianforte says.

Gianforte says that work reduces wildfire risk, improves forest health and is good for business.

DNRC Director, Amanda Kaster, says the Good Neighbor Authority, which allows the state to conduct timber and conservation projects on federal lands, generated 10 commercial timber sales and 36 restoration projects last year.

"Which resulted in 21.7 million-board feet of timber, valued at approximately $2.8 million and supporting 294 Montana jobs,” Kaster says.

Gianforte and Kaster both expressed their commitment to increasing the pace and scale of forest management activities, while simultaneously increasing the state’s wildfire preparedness.

Copyright 2024 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Edward F. O'Brien