The Blodgett fire was a stand-replacement conflagration that burned along the east slope of the Bitterroot Mountains in August 2000. The IBA includes the portion of the burn from Canyon Creek on the south to Sheafman Creek on the north. The forest was dominated by Douglas fir and ponderosa pine at the lower elevations and lodgepole pine and subalpine fir at the higher elevations. The fire burned at various intensities, leaving many standing-dead trees as well as partially burned and unburned trees that survived the fire. Several large canyons within the IBA provide east-west riparian corridors through the area as well as large cliffs. Ownership is mostly Bitterroot National Forest with small amounts of State and private lands.

{link:For IBA map, click here.|http://mtaudubon.org/birds/documents/blodgettfire.web.pdf}

Ornithological Summary

Lower parts of the burn contained a high density of nesting Lewis's Woodpeckers 5 years post-fire. Unknown numbers of Williamson's Sapsuckers, Black-backed Woodpeckers, and Olive-sided Flycatchers inhabited the middle and upper reaches of the burn during this same period. Two pairs of Peregrine Falcons have nested in canyons in the IBA for several years.

Conservation Issues

In western Montana, numbers of nesting woodpeckers may increase dramatically after stand-replacement fires in coniferous forest, if fire-killed trees are left standing. The value of standing-dead timber to woodpeckers is ephemeral, being highest 2-7 years post-fire and then declining as the density of insects on which the birds feed decreases with time. Salvage logging decreases nest-site availability and food abundance for these woodpeckers.

Ownership

The bulk of the IBA (88%) consists of Forest Service lands, with the remainder consisting of private land (7%) and State school trust land (5%).

Habitat

The entire IBA was conifer forest before the fire, and the habitat percentages are based on the composition of the forest before it burned. Many of the trees are now dead, although patches of live trees exist because the fire burned in a mosaic.