Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Moskee burn restoration project proposed


October 6, 2022

Black Hills National Forest officials are proposing to restore the Moskee burn area, located approximately 15 miles southeast of Sundance off Moskee Road.

In August, 1936, a wildfire burned approximately 4700 acres on National Forest lands and 2400 acres on private lands near the old town of Moskee.

The Forest Service re-planted and seeded around 2500 acres of the burned area with non-native Ponderosa Pine from outside the Black Hills area.

Foresters say the non-native, dense stands of planted pine are unlikely to develop into a healthy, vigorous forest because the trees are not suited to the site. The current ecological conditions are unsustainable and inconsistent with the Black Hills National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, as amended (“Forest Plan;” U.S. Forest Service, 2006).

“These trees are susceptible to fire and under dry, windy conditions could burn very rapidly, making them difficult to suppress,” said Mike Gosse, Bearlodge District Ranger, Black Hills National Forest.

“The dense stands are also at risk of insect and disease infestation and are suppressing aspen stands.”

The Forest Service is proposing to cut non-native planted pine, thin and prescribed burn to reduce fire hazard, remove pine from aspen stands, reduce invasive weeds, plant native pine and improve road closures in areas that are unauthorized to motorized vehicles.

Comments on the Moskee Burn Restoration Project can be submitted through the comment form on the project website and by clicking on the “Comment/Object on Project” link., which also includes more details about the proposed action. Comments can also be submitted via mail to: Attn: Moskee Burn Restoration Project, Bearlodge Ranger District, P.O Box 680, Sundance, WY 82729 or via fax at 307-283-3727. Please submit any comments by October 21, 2022.

Any questions regarding the project can be directed to Mike Gosse, Bearlodge District Ranger or Elizabeth Krueger, Natural Resources Planner by telephone, 307-283-1361, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM (MDT).


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