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Montana firefighters working long hours this fire season

Heat, fire and danger: a daily dangerous mix
Posted at 9:10 PM, Sep 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 23:10:57-04

Local fire departments responded to three separate wildfires yesterday in Gallatin County.

These hours can add up for firefighters.

In the Gallatin Valley, fire departments rely on volunteers especially for an active day like yesterday

"Agencies like Big Sky, Bozeman, and Central Valley that have paid staff as well, this where we did an off-duty callback yesterday," said Central Valley Fire Marshal Bruce Hennequin.

These callbacks are common and expected at this time of year for both paid and volunteer firefighters.

"This time of year, everyone is a little conscious of the wildfires and what can happen and those can be extended stay events," Hennequin said.

Firefighters across the Gallatin Valley should plan to work long hours based on how dry the fuels are. They also need to be prepared to work long hours in the heat.

"Obviously, we need to make sure we have plenty of water to take with us to stay hydrated. We also need to be conscious of heat exposure that the ambient temperature itself is hot and the fire makes it warmer," Hennequin explained.

Yesterday was just one example of why we’re not out of the woods yet from fires.

"We need to be cautious and conscious of what were doing. If you don’t have to burn, please don’t," Hennequin added.

If a fire is big enough where federal and local sources are needed, the Natural Resource Conservation Service will help the needed overtime for the local fire departments.