Photos courtesy of the BLM

VALLEY COUNTY – For two years in a row now, overgrown vegetation in the Fort Peck area has prompted several firefighter agencies to be dispatched to manage.

Local, state, and federal firefighters have been dispatched to the Pines Recreation Area, south of Glasgow, to reduce the risk of wildfires.

Hot and dry conditions have increased fire danger across the state keeping fire officials on high alert. Crews are set up in high areas of concern as a precaution incase a wildfire does ignite.

Until a fire breaks out crews work with the community to make the areas safe, while reducing the risk of wildfires.

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“We want the public to know that we are not just sitting around, waiting for the next fire,” said Heath Gerber with MT Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation. “Our interagency crews are completing critical risk reduction work in the Pines to lessen the impact of future wildfires, while still keeping our firefighters available to appropriately respond to new wildfire starts in the area.”

During this hazardous fuel mitigation effort, crews assess homes and discuss the best vegetation treatments options with homeowners.

The Bureau of Land Management said fire officials discuss the” Ready, Set, Go’ principles.  One, be READY prior to wildfire season. Two, be SET, have situational awareness during fire season; and three, GO, do not wait to be told to evacuate, leave early.

This project began in 2015 with extensive planning and coordination amongst local, state and federal agencies.  In June of 2016, 20 interagency firefighters worked in the Pines Recreation Area for nearly a week.

This collaborative effort is spearheaded by Montana Department of Natural Resource and Conservation fire managers as well as BLM, Long Run Fire Department, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.