A 700-acre swath of land around Heller and Sherlock Creek on the St. Joe Ranger District was closed Wednesday so the Forest Service could burn stands of dead lodgepole pine in an effort to rejuvenate forage and eventually, grow white pine, white bark pine and larch.
No roads will be affected during the prescribed burns, but the Sherlock Creek Trail will be closed. The Forest Service expects smoke to drift northeast. The area and trail closure will be reduced or rescinded as soon as operations are complete, Shoshana Cooper of the Forest Service said.
“We’re trying to reduce the fire hazard and increase forage,” Cooper said.
She didn’t expect the closure to be in affect more than a week.
“It just depends on the conditions up there,” she said.
Heller Creek campground will remain open along the southern boundary of the closure area at the confluence of Heller Creek and Sherlock Creek. The boundary proceeds north along the east bank of Heller Creek, turning east to the hydrological divide between Heller and Sherlock Creeks, and to Frog Lake into the headwaters of Sherlock Creek. It intersects with Forest Service Trail 76 and at the intersection with Sherlock Creek and FS Trail 76 turns south and westerly along the northern bank of Sherlock Creek back to confluence with Heller and Sherlock Creeks. Trail 76 (Sherlock Creek Trail), which runs six miles from the Idaho and Montana boundary west to the Heller Creek Campground is in the closure area.
— Ralph Bartholdt