PMWHR Prescribed Fire Premliminary Environmental Assessment.

 

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Below is the letter that I received in the mail and it is also available for viewing on the BLM website.  You can click on BLM to view it there.

IN REPLY TO: 9214

 

United States Department of the Interior

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, Montana 59101-4669

Dear Interested Party,

The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR) Prescribed Fire Environmental Assessment (EA) DOI-BLM-MT-010-2010-0047 and unsigned Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) are available for a 30 day public review and comment period. The documents will be available at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Billings Field Office (BiFO) website at http://www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/billings_field_office.html. The comment period will be conducted beginning September 25, 2013 and ending on October 24, 2013

This EA is tiered to the PMWHR/Territory EA (MT-010-08-24) and Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) May 2009. This tiered EA has been prepared to analyze the impacts associated with wild horses and other resources from implementing prescribed fire on portions of 6,200 acres of the PMWHR. The analysis from the HMAP is incorporated by reference. All other impacts and affected environment are already described and analyzed in the HMAP and subsequent FONSI and Decision Record (DR). These documents are available at http://www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/billings_field_office/wildhorses/pryorherd.html

Comments about the EA or unsigned FONSI can be sent to blm_mt_wildhorse@blm.gov or at the letterhead address by close of business October 24, 2013. To best ensure your comments are received, they can be sent in a written form and mailed or hand delivered to the Billings Field Office. The BLM will consider any substantive comments and revise the EA or FONSI as appropriate. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Thank you for your interest in the management of the PMWHR by the Billings Field Office. If you have any questions concerning the EA or unsigned FONSI, please contact Jared Bybee, Montana/Dakotas State Wild Horse and Burro Specialist at (406) 896-5223 or Craig Howells, Fuels Specialist, at (406) 896-2971.

Sincerely,

James M. Sparks Billings Field Manager

Jackson Band, August 2013
Jackson Band, August 2013

I read through the document and will read it again.  But I do feel that this will benefit the range and the horses.  Click RANGE to view that document.

I have experienced forest health on a small-scale and have seen the benefits of it.  We live on 40 acres in a forest area, bordering 30,000 acres of State Forest Land.   For the last several years, we have received a grant to do clean-up of our land and make it more fire safe.  I have seen the benefits from doing this work.  Just to name a few:

1. The trees left are healthier and more resistant to disease and pine beetles.

2.  The native grasses are able to grow thicker.

3.  If there is a wildfire, our land, home and animals will be safer.

Morning Star, August, 2013
Morning Star, August, 2013

While hiking on the range, I have encountered many areas so thick with dead, downed trees and bushes, that it is impossible for anything or anyone to walk through it (except maybe a squirrel).

I encourage you to take the time to read and submit your comment by October 24, 2013.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

 

 

7 thoughts on “PMWHR Prescribed Fire Premliminary Environmental Assessment.

  1. I agree that this will benefit the wild horse range and the horses themselves by eliminating fire hazard dangers and promoting new growth for the horses to survive on.

  2. Fire believe it or not is healthy for the land. But of course my first concern is the horses. How and when will this occur? Will they move the horses for a period of time? How will they ensure that a secondary fire isn’t accidentally set off?

    I see the pros in what they are saying but the horses safety is paramount.

    1. Hi Margaret,

      The way I understand it is that they will not be doing the whole mountain at one time. Yes, I also agree that safety needs to be their biggest concern. I know we have all read about “prescribed burns” that have gone bad. But for the most part, all of them have been done correctly and with care. They happen on a regular basis here in Western Montana. I will be stressing my concern about exercising extreme caution and care when I submit my comment.

  3. Do you know what the chances would be that this fire could potentially get out of control? I know it would be a controlled fire, but just wondering with this being such a large area with so much wildlife and having mother nature at play if there would be a significant risk or not. I’m just thinking of the camp fire situation from earlier this year.

    1. Hi Sarah, I do not have an answer for you on what the chances are. I just know that if any forest is left alone without some management, if a wildfire hit (like the left campfire could have been), the fire would be far worst than it would have been if there had been some previous management. Goggle “forest fire prevention” and it will give you a lot of reading on the benefits to forest management. I won’t say there is not any risk, because there is, but it is pretty slim if the team of fire fighters are well trained and watch the weather before lighting any. Please read the documents for further explanation on what their practices plan to be. I will be addressing my concerns in my comment that I submit to them.

  4. A prescribed fire is always better than a wild fire, for all the reasons set forth here, and there are probably others I’m not even aware of. A great deal of acquired knowledge over the years has gone into current planning for prescribed fires. Nature can, of course, have an unexpected negative effect. But the chances for that, I’d bet, are less than the chances of an unexpected fire in an area that has a large amount of accumulated fuel and may grow to difficult to control proportions if unobserved at the time it begins. With lightning strikes not uncommon, on the mountain anyway, I can see the need for such a measure. Perhaps it would even encourage the horses to use the alternate forage areas and water sources that are now available to them, that some of them may not be really aware of yet.

    Since I am not EXTREMELY familiar with all the territory on the Range, I’ll certainly be looking forward to the comments and observations you and the Mustang Center folks share with us on the subject before making my comments.

    Thanks.

  5. One of things that concern me is this. NPS a couple years ago set up a prescribed burn not too far from my old home. They had done all the checks and the weather looked fine for the day they chose.

    Suddenly right after they set fire the winds turned. All that smoke settled DIRECTLY over my home. I got smoke inhalation pretty good. I coughed and hacked for two days. Controlled burns are good and appropriate under the proper conditions. I would think closing the mountain to people and clearing everyone out would be appropriate just in case. Afterwards people can go back.

    BLM and FS must use extreme caution doing this. Fire can get out of hand so easily. One spark could be devastating. Far better to spend several trips back and forth setting small controlled burns than one big one.

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