While salvage logging on the Lolo Peak Fire hasn’t been approved, the story is different on the Rice Ridge fire. Timber sales on sections of the 160,000 acre burn scar began last week according to Deputy District Ranger for the Seeley Lake Ranger District Sara Alberts explains.

"We recently signed a decision notice for our environmental analysis that approved just under 3,500 acres of salvage harvest in the Rice Ridge fire area," said Alberts. "We are planning to harvest about 26 million board feet of fire affected timber, you know, to support all of our local mills here in western Montana and we are also going to be doing some hazard tree removal along our forest roads."

Loggers will need to move quickly to retrieve the trees and Alberts says they hope to have the sales finalized soon.

"Our first of four timber sales coming out of the Rice Ridge Fire salvage project got advertised and another is expected Tuesday September 11, then we'll have two more sales coming out about the first week of October, we are hoping that potential purchasers that might get awarded these sales will get started this Fall or this Winter," Alberts says.

Forestry Professor Peter Kolb described the Rice Ridge Salvage Logging Project as a win-win and said one of the main reasons why the Rice Ridge fire is getting a salvage logging project and Lolo Peak isn’t is because large areas where Rice Ridge burned through were near roads, allowing easier access.

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