HELENA – Fire mitigation experts say now is the time to start preparing your property for potential wildfires even with the snow and freezing temperatures.
“Now is a good time to start the planning process,” said Pat McKelvey, project manager for Tri-County FireSafe Working Group.
Fire mitigation season “officially” kicked off Feb. 13 but the Tri-County Fire-Safe Working Group say it’s really a year-round activity.
“I mean it’s no secret. Fires are getting bigger, hotter, the fire season is getting longer and there’s a lot more structures at risk,” said McKelvey. “There’s been a lot of building going on in the state of Montana and much of that is in the wildland urban interface.“
McKelvey asks people to take a look around their property and develop a planning process for when they can get out and take fire mitigation steps.
- A safety zone should be created around the home by keeping pine needles, weeds and other debris 10 feet from the building. Brush should be cleared at least 30 feet.
- People should also have an evacuation strategy with the entire family in case a fire threatens the area they live in.
- Designate an emergency meeting location, have several escape routes, and plan for pets and any large animals that might be on the property.
Tri-County Fire-Safe Work Group offer free home ignition zone assessments to anyone that needs help.
“That would set the tone for if you need a project or not. And if you need some assistance with that, certainly we can come out and help,” said McKelvey.
Tri-County Fire-Safe also recommend homeowner associations to get in contact with them now to start developing vegetation management and evacuation plans.
“If you’re thinking about doing a project get an application from us and get it in,” recommended McKelvey.
More information about Tri-County FireSafe Working Group and the work they do can be found at their website here. http://tcfswg.org/
Story by John Riley, MTN News