Regional Forester Byron Bonney will be one of seven honorees for work in reducing wildfire danger. He will receive a Wildfire Mitigation Award in March. The National Association of State Foresters made the announcement January 17, citing Bonney's extensive work as Fuel Mitigation Program manager for the Bitter Root RC&D in Hamilton. Since 2001, according to Bonney, the organization has received over $7 million in grants to help private landowners reduce forest fire risk by fuel reduction thinning, pruning and slash treatment on over 9,000 acres. The work has been done in Ravalli, Missoula and Mineral Counties. Community foresters help in each county.

The award is co-sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association and the USDA Forest Service. Tom Boggus, director of Texas A&M Forest Service, said of Bonney, "You always have to have a sparkplug ... somebody that's a champion in every one of these communities ... people that not only talk the good talk, but walk the good walk." Byron is continuing his work, advising local folks that RC&D has 50/50 cost share grants for mitigation projects. Contact the RC&D office at (406) 363-5450 or checking their website.