The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Dane Osen
For the Courier 

Protecting the Pines

Local Crews Take Preventative Measures at Beloved Recreational Area


Dane Osen/For the Courier

Long Run Fire Department Chief Bob Hanson (l) and Fire Warden Dan Carney pictured here on Sept. 27, have been instrumental in getting the Pines Community Project up and running.

In an ongoing effort to curb fire hazards at the Pines Recreational Area members of the Pines Community Project, along with Long Run Fire Department Chief Bob Hanson, hosted a meeting on Sept. 27. Approximately 20-30 people were in attendance.

The preventative measure was the brainchild of Hanson and Fire Warden Dan Carney, hatched to mitigate the abundance of fire fuels. In the meeting, Hanson outlined what had been accomplished by local firefighters in conjunction with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to help remove debris and other fire hazards to help minimize the fuel sources.

The project has been in the works for sometime, beginning in earnest in the summer of 2015. That year proved to be a difficult one, as the fire season began early. This past June, Hanson organized a group of firefighters to help clear pine needles and trim trees adjacent to structures. It was not an easy task, as many of the properties are vacation homes and are not as well kept as some of those owned by locals. Many properties have become overgrown with grass and juniper bushes presenting a risk to fuel fires. 

This project was a particularly large undertaking for the crew. Hanson estimates they called about 1,540 pounds of pine needles by the third day of the eight-day project, and there is still much left to be done around the small community. The group's activity was focused mainly in the the Pine Cone Drive area, but they hope to get to Holladay Point next year if funding comes through.

Hanson stated that the goal of this project is to be like a show-and-tell of sorts. His goal is displaying to property owners what they can do to minimize fire risk by limiting fuel sources. Some things that can help minimize fires from spreading can be cleaning up pine needles, keeping all branches above shoulder length, and keeping grass trimmed.

For some of the heavier work, the crew relied on a wood chipper acquired by BLM, which is one of three that they have available in the state. Burning the debris is currently not an option available to the U.S. Corp of Engineers, and it cost roughly $40,000 to transport the waste to the landfill. In an effort to minimize waste, the crew used wood chippings as ground cover to prevent erosion where juniper bushes had been removed. Larger trees that had died were also cut into firewood for locals to use.

The Pines Community Project is a group venture, combining efforts from the Montana DNRC, Valley County, BLM, Fish Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Corp of Engineers, and the Pines Cabin Association.

To contribute to the cause or inquire further, contact Bob Hanson 263-8625.


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