The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday released information showing how limited federal firefighting budgets have impacted states over the last two fiscal years (2012 and 2013). The state-by-state report provides examples of how funding for local wildfire preparedness, forest restoration, and other activities in nearly every state across the country has been used to instead fight fires when wildfire suppression budgets did not fully cover firefighting costs.
List Highlights How Forest Restoration, Fire Preparedness and other Activities were Postponed or Canceled Due to Lack of Adequate Fire Suppression Budget
2013 Impacts In Montana
•On the Beaverhead‐DeerlodgeNational Forest, a gravel‐surfaced, accessible path was not constructed.
•The Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway Sign replacement project on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest was deferred, negatively affecting visitor experience and hindering
way finding efforts of forest visitors.
•Forest planning efforts were delayed on the Flathead National Forest.
•Forest Plan amendments for the Lewis and Clark, Lolo, Kootenai, and Helena National Forests for Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy were delayed.
•Site investigation work at the Libby Asbestos Area on the Kootenai National Forest was delayed.
•Preparatory work for mine removal actions at Flat Creek and
Kennedy Creek on the Lolo National Forest was delayed.
•NEPA analysis for grazing was not completed on the Gallatin, Custer and Flathead National Forests.
•Numerous grazing projects were impacted in Montana ‐ one mile of grazing allotment fencing was not maintained; allotment management activities, including three fencing projects, were delayed; the Hay Creek fence construction project to benefit range and watershed activities was not completed.
•A key partnership agreement with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks was not completed.
•Road maintenance activities and dust abatement projects were deferred, directly impacting 400 miles of passenger car road maintenance.
•Watershed restoration work was impacted because no seeds or materials were purchased