Government agencies gathered with elected officials, firefighters, and the public on Monday, June 3, 2013 at the State Capitol to kick off the 2013 Wildfire Awareness Week in Montana.
Over 50 people joined Governor Bullock in the Capitol Rotunda directly following the first fire briefing of the season to hear about the summer’s fire outlook and to learn how to do their part in wildfire prevention, preparedness, and mitigation.
Governor Bullock endorsed wildfire awareness, stating, “it is up to each and every one of us to do our part to make sure that Montana is protected from wildfires. Everyone should do what they can to prepare and take personal responsibility.”
From Volunteer Fire Department pancake feeds to homeowner mitigation workshops, organizations across the state are spreading the word about wildfire awareness this summer. To learn about events happening near you, click here.
At a community wildfire meeting held on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at Helena Middle School, guests from the Colorado Springs Fire Department reiterated the importance of wildfire preparedness and homeowner mitigation. The speakers shared the lessons learned from the devastating 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire with over 140 community members and emphasized that wildfire preparedness is a shared responsibility.
Here are some Wildfire Awareness Week prevention and mitigation tips:
- Learn before you burn. Never leave your burn pile unattended. For Safe Debris Burning tips and burn permits check with your local Fire Department.
- Take Steps Now to Protect your Home and Property from Wildfires. Trim and prune trees and shrubs around your home and buildings. Learn more here.
- Make sure all mechanical outdoor equipment such as tractors, chainsaws, off-road vehicles, and others are equipped with properly-working mufflers and bearings.
- Have you checked your rain gutters, roof crevices, and eaves? Take the time now to make sure all debris is cleared leaving no place for a fire ember to land and start a fire.
- Before starting a camp fire make sure you have an area cleared of debris and a fire ring made from nonflammable material like rocks. When you leave the fire make sure it is completely out by adding water, stirring, and making sure it is cold to the touch.
- Do you have ornamental shrubs and trees touching your home or wood chips surrounding the base? Consider trimming the shrubs and trees so they are at least 3ft from the home and replacing any flammable landscape decorations with nonflammable materials like concrete or stones.
- Know before you go! During the summer months counties will have fire restrictions limiting recreational campfires and debris burns. Make sure you know whether your county or destination is under fire restrictions.
- Wildfires can be unpredictable and move fast. You may have to evacuate your home quickly. Make a grab and go bag with important family documents, medications, and other essential items. Check out useful items to include by clicking here.
- It is important to remember that any spark is enough to start a wildfire during hot, windy and dry summer days. Make sure that you aren’t dragging chains and use caution when using a lawn mower remember rocks and spinning blades can produce sparks.