FRENCHTOWN – The early onset of the fire season combined with sustained high temperatures is of concern to local rural fire departments.
The Frenchtown Rural Fire District told MTN News they received around 100 more emergency calls in their department compared to the same time last year, and they are asking people to be prepared for the potential of a fire. forest near their homes.
“This is already shaping up to be one of the hottest summers on record,” said Mel Holtz, public information officer for the Frenchtown rural fires. “We normally don’t see it again until a little later, those 100 degree temperatures, so we are currently in a period of emergency, where we are asking owners to prepare.
The Frenchtown and Missoula Rural fire districts both offer fuel consumption mitigation services.
Typically located in the forest-urban interface – a transition zone between unoccupied land and human development – these homes pose a high risk of fire contact in Montana.
“We really encourage homeowners to look now if they need to call their local fire department to help them get their home assessed,” Holtz said.
After an initial assessment, crews visit your site to remove flammable debris and thin trees to make your home more likely to survive a forest fire. Cost sharing and financial assistance programs are often available.
You can also request a site visit for a forest fire risk assessment through MT’s Department of Natural Resources and Conservation here.
“That’s what we really want to work with homeowners is to prepare their home for a wildfire and how to make it more defensible,” said Holtz.
In the meantime, homeowners can do their part by removing dead and dying materials like pine needles, pine cones, and brush from their home and property.
Embers can travel a mile before a fire, so installing screens under a house reduces the likelihood of embers passing through. More details from Fire Adapted Missoula County on home forest fire preparedness can be found here.
Plus, prepare for a possible evacuation now by gathering important materials and planning a route outside your neighborhood.
“Now is the time to prepare to put together some of these important documents. Family photos, that sort of thing that if you need to get out at any time you can grab some of those things and go out safely, ”Holtz said.
And of course, do your part to prevent forest fires. As of Saturday, Missoula County has implemented Stage 2 fire restrictions.
Preventing man-made fires will make a positive difference in managing resources this hot summer.
“We are really asking for zero man-made starts this season. We are already seeing limited resources with all the little pockets of fires that we have in the area, ”said Holtz. “So if we don’t have to devote resources to someone who hasn’t put out their campfire or a man-made startup, that’s really going to help us provide resources to other fires that do. really need. “