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 February 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 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 the live in.
Designate a 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 home owner 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/