DNRC offers programs to help residents pay for forest thinning

Posted: July 28, 2016

Source: K-PAX

2013-10-16 11.29.26MISSOULA –The Montana DNRC is encouraging residents in forested areas to take proactive steps in reducing fire danger around their homes by offering to pay for some or even all of the costs involved with thinning surroundingforests.

Steve Siebert is a forestry professor at the University of Montana and knows the importance of thinning dense forests to promote fire safety and vegetation growth.

16 years ago, Siebert purchased his lot in the Upper Rattlesnake and almost immediately began thinning the forest right past his backyard.

He says thanks to help from the Montana DNRC, he has been able to keep up with all the work.

“I hope the funding that DNRC has been able to extend continues. We utilized them twice for some thinning operations further up on the hill than I could readily carry and drag and burn stuff. And they burned the hill for probably the first time in 100 to 150 years,” Siebert said.

The DNRC is now trying to get five residences in the area to take advantage of the program, which is funded by the US Forest Service.

“We have extended the offer to groups of landowners who are working in continuity with one another and we’ve said we’ll offer a direct cost share program to those landowners. We’re still working out the details for how exactly that will be administered, but we are looking for continuous properties of five or more,” Angela Mallon with the DNRC said.

Siebert says he believes the Marshall Woods Project happening right down the road near the Bitterroot Trail, may help motivate residents to evaluate the forest health around their homes.

“I just hope the message of the Marshall Woods Project and its restoration efforts is extended and on a personal note id like to see an effort to maybe try to utilize some of the biomass that’s removed for commercial purposes,” Siebert said.

The Marshall Woods Project is set to thin about 3,500 acres of forest over the next three to five years.