Is my property at risk from wildfire. ?
Living among the foothills and mountains in Montana is known as living in the Wildland Urban Interface. Montana weather often brings high winds, low humidity, and hot temperatures during summer months. The designation of a high-risk area is accomplished by assessing the interaction of individual risk factors such as fuel loading, topography, fire history, climate, housing density and infrastructure for firefighting.
Why should I prepare for a wildfire?
The risk of catastrophic wildfire is a real and serious threat. In many areas, it is not a question of if a wildfire will impact your home, but when. The city and county fire departments are limited in their capabilities to defend every structure that is built in high risk areas as a fast moving fire front approaches a neighborhood. There is no better time than now to prepare for wildfire. Our ability to live more safely in a fire environment depends on pre-fire activities. There are ways to significantly reduce the potential for property destruction but it depends on you.
What is wildfire risk reduction?
Wildfire risk reduction is the implementation of various measures designed to minimize the destructive effects a wildfire has on your property. Some actions are designed to modify the forest environment around your home that puts it as risk from wildfire ember storms. Others focus on “hardening” your home to improve its ability to withstand a wildfire without being dependent upon fire suppression resources. Wildfire risk reduction or mitigation increases the chances of your home will survive a wildfire. It does not guarantee that it will survive.
For more information on how you can reduce your wildfire risk please visit this MT DNRC page
What is defensible space?
Defensible space is an area between a house and an oncoming wildfire where the vegetation has been managed to reduce the wildfire threat and allow firefighters to safely defend the house. In many cases creating effective defensible space requires working with neighbors. The idea behind treatment of fuels is to reduce the overall amount of fuel (vegetation) so the fire burns with less intensity and can be easily suppressed. Methods of creating defensible space can include thinning of trees, removal of brush, cutting branches and can be accomplished mechanically with chainsaws or manually with hand tools.
To learn more about creating and maintaining Defensible Space, check out this link.
Who is responsible for creating and maintaining effective defensible space?
Each and every homeowner is personally responsible for creating and maintaining effective defensible space.
How can creating and maintaining effective defensible space help my neighbors and community?
Wildfire does not recognize property lines. If you effectively mitigate your property, you may help save your neighbor’s home and vice versa. Wildfires can impact entire communities. Linked defensible spaces are a key community protection strategy.