Monday, July 15, 2024

Tyler’s Kitchen project proposed on Lolo Forest

| July 3, 2024 12:00 AM

The Forest Service invites the public to provide feedback on the proposed Tyler’s Kitchen Fuels Reduction and Forest Health Project on the Missoula Ranger District, located southeast of the confluence of Rock Creek and the Clark Fork River in Granite and Missoula counties.

This project includes a variety of management activities supporting vegetation health, fuels reduction, and road management on nearly 33,440 acres within the Tyler Creek and Brewster Creek drainages on the Lolo National Forest.

The proposed project is set in an area of the Forest that has been identified through modeling to have increased needs for fuels and forest health treatments to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. The project activities aim to reduce forest fuels to mitigate and reduce impacts from wildfires, restore vegetation conditions to those that are resilient to natural disturbances, maintain a suitable transportation system to support long-term management and public use, and contribute wood products to the local and regional economy.

This project aligns with the USDA Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy that works with partners to protect communities and improve the resilience of America’s Forests.

“We have seen the forest health conditions degrading in this part of the Lolo due to insects and disease, which adversely impacts opportunities for safe and effective suppression of future wildfires,” said Crystal Stonesifer, District Ranger, Missoula Ranger District. “This is important work that aligns closely with our national direction and our commitment to landscape scale fuels reduction efforts.”

To help the Forest Service implement the Wildfire Crisis Strategy, in early 2023, the Secretary of Agriculture invoked the emergency authority, under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Section 40807), across 250 high risk firesheds in the western United States. Firesheds are containers that delineate areas where fires ignite and are likely (or not) to spread to communities and expose buildings. The law authorizes the Forest Service to take emergency actions on National Forest System lands to protect public health and safety, critical infrastructure, and natural resources from destructive wildfires. 

The Lolo National Forest contains nine of the highest risk firesheds in the nation, one of which overlaps with the proposed Tyler’s Kitchen Project.

The Lolo National Forest has been granted approval from the Secretary to implement the Tyler’s Kitchen project as an Emergency Action Determination project. The project lies within one of the 250 identified High Risk Firesheds (#381-Baird). The Lolo National Forest intends to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) and is requesting public comment on the proposed project.

Under the Emergency Action Determination authority, this project will not be subject to the pre-decisional objection review process. It is therefore critical that you provide feedback on this project during the designated scoping and comment periods, as the public will not be able to raise additional project concerns during an objection period. We are very interested to hear thoughts from the public on this proposed project. The public is invited to participate in the scoping period to help the agency determine what actions are needed, potential alternatives, and potential issues.