The smoke visible these days in the Bitterroot National Forest is part of the annual autumn prescribed burning projects, which began in September. Wednesday afternoon, October 2, smoke was visible in the Lost Horse area as slash timber piles near the Lost Horse Observation Point southwest of Hamilton were set off (see photo above). Slash piles were also burned near the Tin Cup trailhead southwest of Darby and near the Tepee Point Lookout east of Sula. Along with the slash piles, the forest crews have burned or are planning to burn about 4,000 total acres in the West Fork, Stevensville and Darby/Sula Ranger Districts. Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest said the larger burn projects help reduce forest fuels and improves wildlife habitat, while the pile fires reduce residual material from thinning and timber harvests.