Active Management Underway in Lincoln County to Reduce Wildfire Risk, Support Local Economy

Land managers in Lincoln County announced that work is underway to reduce wildfire risk and provide jobs and revenue for local communities through coordinated management efforts across the landscape. State, federal, local, and private partners are working to leverage common resources and integrate multiple projects, including reducing fuels across land ownerships, updating the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), and investments in long term programs that will help reduce wildfire risk, improve forest health, and support economic benefits for communities in Lincoln County.

According to the Montana Forest Action Plan, Lincoln County is among the counties with the highest wildfire risk in Montana. Due to the high risk of wildfire and threats to communities and critical infrastructure, land managers are jointly reporting on the work of the many on-going projects listed below.

To be successful in reducing wildfire risk across the county, land managers and their partners welcome any citizen engagement in current or future projects. For more information, please contact the relevant agency representative.

2021 MOU for Cross-boundary Management: A 2021 Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Lincoln County formalized the intent of the agencies to work together to treat priority areas of high wildfire risk to communities as well as invest in manufacturing and local economic opportunities.

“Lincoln County has pursued an intentional, coordinated cross boundary fuel treatment plan in the County for several years,” says Commissioner Jerry Bennett, Lincoln County. “It is encouraging to see the County and its partners, USFS, DNRC, and NRCS, finalizing a long-term agreement that benefits both private and public lands into the next decade.”

Lincoln County WUI Shared Stewardship Initiative: The Lincoln County Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Shared Stewardship Initiative is intended to coordinate efforts across ownership boundaries to increase the pace and scale of active management in the Kootenai National Forest and surrounding areas by expanding an already-existing Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) agreement. The expanded GNA agreement establishes a goal to treat up to 10,000 acres a year in the Kootenai National Forest. The initiative also draws funding from NRCS and USFS State and Private Forestry programs to support treatments on private lands in the WUI.

“Prioritizing fuels treatments on private lands that are in proximity to public lands projects is a major emphasis for the NRCS Eureka Field Office,” says Brian Ressel, District Conservationist for NRCS.  “With the vast amount of timber lands that we have in the county, this approach ensures we are targeting the landscapes and communities with the highest fire risk and the greatest need. Working across fence lines is the only way to make a real impact and it takes strong partnerships across a range of property ownerships to make that happen.”

“Cross-boundary work through shared stewardship to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health on public and private lands is critical to our local communities,” says Gary Kedish, Partnership Coordinator for the Kootenai National Forest. “Our strong partnerships and future coordination will build on current agency programs and help focus work in priority areas with high wildfire risk.”

Community Wildfire Protection Plan Update:

Lincoln County and Lincoln County FireSafe Council are working to update the 2013 Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) to align with the most recent information on wildfire risk and the most effective