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Preparing your home for wildfires

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Posted at 6:02 AM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 08:02:17-04

HELENA — With more than 20 significant wildfires across Montana already this season, we are in the thick of wildfire season, which means your home can be at risk.

“In my experience I think I started firefighting around 2003 and then steady in it since 2008, this is the earliest we've seen this kind of fire behavior as long as I've been doing it,” said Chris Spliethof, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Fire Management Officer.

Spliethof says preparing your home for a potential wildfire is critical, especially in the hot and dry season.

“The more you have stuff ready before a fire comes the better odds, we have you know to protect the houses,” said Spliethof.

One of the most important ways to prep your home in the case of a wildfire is ensuring your grass, and yard are cleared of any potential fire hazards, like dry grass, and even firewood.

"Keeping your fuels around your house cleaned up, cut your grass and water it and keep things trimmed up off the ground," said Spliethof.

Thirdly create a fire evacuation plan with your family, ensure that your children know where to go in the case of a fire, and have your important items ready to go.

"When you get into this peak fire season conditions, it's a good idea to kind of gather up some of your important documents, some things that really important to you, like irreplaceables” said Spliethof.

And remember if you are told to evacuate, it is the best decision to go.

“If law enforcement even fire departments are coming to knocking on your door and recommending that you get out of there it's just probably best to get out of there sooner than later,” said Spliethof.

To ensure quick takedowns of fires, Spliethof says to remain calm, and trust those who are there to help you.

“If we don't have to worry about the human element we can focus on the fire and protecting structures,” said Spliethof.

And ensuring your home is wildfire prepared, it is never too early or late to start preparation

“It's never too late anything you can do will help,” said Spliethof.

You can find more fire management and preparation here.