Fire Prevention & Preparedness

campfire
As you prepare for your hunting trip, make sure
you have plenty of water to put out your warming fire.

 

SmokeyThe goal of the fire prevention program is reduction of human-caused wildfires and education of homeowners residing in Montana’s wildland urban interface regarding their responsibilities to take measures to protect their homes from wildland fires. Public outreach and education is the driving force of this program, this is primarily done through promoting and partnering with Keep Montana Green, FireSafe Montana, Firewise Communities, Fire Adapted Communities and Ready, Set, Go!


Prevention:

Raising awareness and educating adults and children on ways to reduce their chances of starting a wildland fire is the goal of prevention. Human-caused wildland fires can be broken down into eight categories.

  • Campfires
  • Smoking
  • Debris Burning
  • Arson
  • Equipment
  • Railroad
  • Children
  • Miscellaneous - fireworks, explosives, ammunition, gas/oil
  • Lolo School Kids
    Fire education program at Lolo Elementary School


    Restrictions:

    Fire restrictions is a tool that is used during unusually high fire danger and/or burning conditions. Other considerations that can cause an area to enter into fire restrictions is an increase in human-caused wildfires. The purpose is to limit the activities that can cause fires to start. Fire restrictions is considered as one of the last prevention tools to be used within a prevention program. The state of Montana is broken into nine restriction division/areas. See map below. There are two stages within fire restrictions.

    restriction areas

    STAGE I
    The following acts are prohibited:

    1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire unless noted in the exemptions.

    2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

    STAGE II
    The following acts are prohibited:

    1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire, unless noted in the exemptions.

    2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

    3. The following acts are prohibited from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.:

    a. Operating any internal combustion engine;

    b. Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame;

    c. Using an explosive

    *A one hour foot patrol in the work area is required following cessation of all activities as identified in #3 above.

    4. Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.

    Visit www.firerestrictions.us to find out what areas are in fire restrictions


    Keep Montana Green:

    Keep Montana GreenDedicated to the prevention of human-caused wildfires. Keep Montana Green promotes awareness about the dangers human-caused wildfires can have on Montana's timber, rangelands, the wildland urban interface and human safety. Public education, outreach and raising awareness to adults and children is a key part of our mission. Yearly educational campaigns are developed and broadcast across Montana. Visit www.keepgreen.org to learn more about this non-profit organization, participate in their K-12 annual fire prevention poster contest, become a member, or nominate someone for a prevention award.

    Poster Contest
    New Miami School students participate in Keep Montana Green's annual fire prevention poster contest


    Investigation:

    The Montana DNRC is mandated by law to determine the origin and cause of fires within their jurisdiction. The fire prevention program uses this information to help ensure that the prevention messages being used are pertinent to what human-caused fire are occurring.


    Preparedness:

    Fire season is now a year-round reality in many areas, requiring firefighters and residents to be on heightened alert for the threat of wildland fire.

    Each year, wildland fires consume hundreds of homes in the Wildland-Urban Interface. Studies show that as many as 80% of the homes lost to wildland fire could have been saved if their owners had only followed a few simple fire-safe practices.

    If you live next to a naturally vegetated area, often called the Wildland-Urban Interface, you must prepare your property and modify vegetation around your home. This can be done by altering grasses, shrubs, and trees on your property. Effective preparation reduces the wildland fire threat to your property and is a critical component of a home that can survive without firefighters.

    In a wildland fire event, your house may be showered with burning embers. Any flammable material that could be ignited by the burning embers needs to be eliminated where they come in contact with the home. This includes dead pine needles, dry grasses, wood piles, wood chips used for mulching, and even dry coconut husk door mats.

    There is no better time than now to prepare and educate your family. Make sure your family knows what to do in case of a home or wildland fire.


    FireSafe MontanaFireSafe Montana
    is a private, non-profit organization coordinating and supporting a statewide coalition of diverse interests working together to help Montanans make their homes, neighborhoods, and communities fire safe. Visit www.firesafemt.org to get all the information you need on how to prepare your home, property, and family.


    FirewiseFirewise Communities Program
    encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. www.firewise.org


    Fire Adapted CommunitiesFire Adapted Communities
    takes responsibility for its wildfire risk. Actions address resident safety, homes, neighborhoods, businesses and infrastructure, forests, parks, open spaces, and other community assets. The more actions a community takes, the more fire adapted it becomes. www.fireadapted.org


    Ready Set GoReady Set Go!
    The RSG! Program helps residents be Ready with preparedness understanding, be Set with situational awareness when fire threatens, and to Go, acting early when a fire starts. www.wildlandfirersg.org

    Ready - Be ready, be Firewise. Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe place. Plan escape routes and make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action

    Set - Situational awareness. Pack your emergency items. Stay aware of the latest news and information on the fire from local media, your local fire department, and public safety.

    Go - Act early! Follow your personal wildland fire action plan. Doing so will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.

    Preparedness
    This landowner installed non-combustible material around the base of the structure, removed trees close to structure, and thinned trees within 30 feet of the stucture

    Contact

    Dept. of Natural Resources & Conservation
    1625 Eleventh Ave.
    Helena, MT 59601
    Phone: (406) 444-2074
    Fax: (406) 444-2684