Protecting your home from wildfires

Gallatin County Emergency Management

OneLessSparkSquareBOZEMAN – Montana’s wildfire season has already started in some parts of the state, and fire departments and emergency managers urging you to get ready this spring.“It doesn’t matter where you live, your house could be exposed to fire,” Gallatin County Emergency Manager Patrick Lonergan said. “You could live out in the woods or in a subdivision. A wildfire could threaten your home.”

May is Wildfire Awareness Month in Montana, and the Governor’s Office as well as fire personnel around the state are working to raise awareness about wildland fire safety, community preparedness and fire prevention.

“Everybody’s going to have to work together,” Craig Campbell of the Trust Land & Forestry said about wildfire prevention. “It’s not just one agency that is going to make a difference here. It is agencies working with residences to make a difference on having a safe, effective fire season.”

Human-caused wildfires burn nearly 2.5 million acres nationwide each year according to the National Interagency Fire Center. That’s roughly the size of Yellowstone National Park. In southwest Montana, about 40 percent of wildfires are started by people. Of those human-caused fires, 67 percent are from controlled burns that get out of control.

There are plenty of things that you can do to get ready. Clear out any dead vegetation around your home. It is also important to clean out gutters, clear roofs and other areas that debris might have settled over time. Airborne embers that fall in gutters are a major cause for fires during wildfire season.

“If you have the opportunity to keep green grass around your house that is going to reduce the impact of fire if a fire does come,” Campbell explained.

Keeping the vegetation around your home lush and green as well as storing firewood at least 30 feet away from your home or garage will cut down your chances of being affected by wildfire.

If you plan to do any open burning this year, it is also important that you get a permit. Permits are $15 and are good all year. For a list of locations of where you can buy a permit in Gallatin County, you can follow this link.

Courtesy KBZK, by Matt Elwell