May is Wildfire Awareness Month

May 27, 2015 | Emergency Preparedness, Safety

In Montana, top causes of wildfires change throughout the course of the season: escaped debris and agricultural burns in the spring, escaped or unattended campfires in the summer, and sparks from dragging trailer chains, lawn mowers, chainsaws, or field machinery in the late summer and early fall when grasses are cured and ripe for ignition. Take the time now to learn about the risk of wildfires and get prepared.

Gallatin County Emergency Management has useful information about the risk of wildfires in Gallatin County. GCEM also offers prevention resources and tips for protecting your home during wildfire season. Find out more here.

Here are a few ways to prevent and prepare for wildfires:

  • Clean out gutters, roofs and other areas where debris has settled
  • Avoid burning on windy days and never leave a burn pile unattended
  • Maintain equipment to reduce sparks and check that trailer chains do not drag
  • Create an evacuation plan and practice the route with family members
  • Practice campfire safety by ensuring your fire is dead out before leaving the campsite
  • Keep the space around your home clear of dense vegetation
  • Help your community by organizing a wildfire preparedness event

As with any emergency, make sure your family has an evacuation plan and a designated meeting spot. Pack a bag with important documents and supplies for your family and be sure to have a method of communication in case you get separated. Make sure you have what you need to evacuate your pets as well.

Check your emergency supply kit and update it if needed. If you don’t have a kit, start one! Click here to learn about recommended items to include in a basic emergency kit. Be sure to have enough water for everyone in the family (1 gallon per person per day for at least three days). Make sure all family members know where the emergency kit is kept and have it ready in case you have to leave home quickly.

For more information on emergency plans and kits, visit www.ready.gov/.