Summer is just around the corner! Along with the beautiful Montana weather, comes the threat of wildfires. The month of May is Wildfire Awareness Month and Saturday, May 6, 2023, is National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Both events were established to raise awareness of wildfire risk and encourage citizens to improve the safety of their homes and communities.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers some simple steps homeowners can take this Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, or “Prep Day,” to protect their home featured in a video on their website: https://www.nfpa.org/Events/Events/National-Wildfire-Community-Preparedness-Day.
The NFPA encourages homeowners to “Defend the Home Ignition Zone (HIZ)!”
“Research shows there are proven methods for preparing properties for withstanding the devastating impacts of a wildfire. This Prep Day, you have the power to protect the part of the community that means the most to you and your family by eliminating vulnerabilities in the HIZ, particularly the immediate 5-foot zone around your residence. Whether it's replacing wood chips with gravel or reimagining your entire landscape design, what you do on Saturday, May 6, really matters.”
National Fire Protection Association.
Other great resources, specifically for Montanans, to assist us in preparing for wildfire season and to keep us informed of wildfires in our state include:
MTInfo.Org – A website published by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) in partnership with other national and state agencies. The site is “dedicated to helping you, as a Montanan, learn how to live better with wildfire” and features information about current fire restrictions, current fire information, as well as offers tips on how to prepare for evacuation, smoke, and how to prepare your home for wildfire.
MT.Gov/Fire offers citizens a directory of state agencies' resources. “Wildfires can affect Montana's landscape, air quality, wildlife, agriculture, tourism, and recreation. Several State of Montana agencies have information regarding the impact and status of fires.”
Timber Harvesters Working to Prepare of State for Wildfires
In recent years, the important role that timber harvesting plays in protecting our communities has become more evident and appreciated. By thinning overgrown forests and removing dead and fallen trees, fuel for wildfires is reduced. Also, timber harvesting can provide forest access, fuel breaks, and other strategies to help firefighters battle wildfires and protect our communities.
Montana’s timber harvesters are working with state agencies to do what they can to help reduce fuel for wildfires and provide the necessary space and tools to help firefighters. They are dedicated stewards of Montana’s forests, working to protect our forests through responsible management for future generations.