(MTN News-Helena) 2015 was one of the worst fire season that Montana has seen in years and with Spring around the corner some residents a preparing early.

The Tri-County FireSafe Working Group is offering financial assistance to home owners who want to prepare. MTN’s Sara Stinson talked with a Helena resident who took advantage of these fuel reduction services to make his home more fire resistant.

“Even though there’s snow on the ground, it’s never too early to prepare your home for wildfire season,” said Helena resident near Travis Creek Jim Ziegler.

Jim Ziegler was concerned about how his home would fare this fire season and decided to do something about it.

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“If a fire comes along I want to do what I can to mitigate the effect,” said Ziegler.

He called the Tri-County FireSafe Working Group for a free inspection to see what would make his home more fire resistant.

Ziegler added, “Hopefully we won’t have a fire this fire season, but if something like that does happen hopefully we reduce the effect of it.”

Ziegler also took advantaged of the 50% cost share that the working group offers on approved projects.

“It allows us to do a bit more of a thorough project then we could afford otherwise,” said Ziegler.

“The homeowner needs to take it upon themselves to do the work in advance to protect their own lives and own property. That’s why the Tri-County FireSafe Working Group helps pay for these projects,” said Northwest Management Inc Forester Hero Luke Fehlig.

Residents in Lewis & Clark, Jefferson, and Broadwater counties can apply for financial assistance.

“Pretty much anything of what we call the wildland interface. So it’s not just people living in the woods. This house is in town, but just on the edge. I know that we’re safer. I know that if in fact a fire comes through here the probability of saving the house is much increased. He’ll be a lot safer. We can’t ever fire proof a property, but this is about the best we can do” Fehlig added.

If you are concerned about your home or property you can attend a wildfire preparedness meeting this Saturday in Helena.

For more information on the Tri-County Working Group or the fire preparedness meeting this weekend visit the link below:

Meeting Address – Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
3580 N. Benton Ave
Helena, MT
Contact Info – Montana Private Citizens Emergency Force
Doris Davis 442-6875
Mary Kelley 431-6330

Reporter: Sara Stinson 

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