The 48,000 acre Mud Creek Vegetation Management Project is a complex Bitterroot National Forest project encompassing vegetation management, fuel reduction and transportation system work. Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest said the West Fork plan is downstream from Painted Rocks Reservoir and includes portions of Nelson Lake, Little West Fork, Lloyd Creek, Lower Blue Joint and Painted Rocks drainages. Officials say the area has roads in need of repair and maintenance and there is a "high priority" designation for fuel reduction in the Wildland-Urban Interface, with 175 private structures within or near the project area. McKay said over 35,000 acres of the project is in a Community Protection Zone from the 2016 Bitterroot Wildfire Risk Assessment. Public comments are due by October 7th.

The proposal includes decommissioning roads, a commercial and non-commercial timber harvest and thinning and prescribed burning. McKay said the plan continues work started 10 years ago to reduce fuel in high priority areas of the Wildland Urban Interface. For more information, copies of the project are at the Bitterroot National Forest Supervisors Office in Hamilton or at the West Fork Ranger Station. The plan is also online at the Bitterroot National Forest website.