Frequently Asked Questions
What is FireSafe Montana?
FireSafe Montana is a non-government entity offering statewide coordination of efforts supporting firesafe programs and firewise activities. FireSafe Montana functions as a statewide information clearinghouse, advocate, and nexus point for firewise activities in Montana.
Who should join FireSafe Montana?
Anyone interested in or concerned about wildland fire suppression, mitigation, and education should join. Examples of members include local firesafe councils, neighborhood and homeowners associations, fire departments, mitigation and firefighting contractors, forest property owners, residents in the wildland-urban interface, conservation organizations, real estate agents, insurance agents, foresters and forestry consultants, resource professionals, fire managers, timber industry, and the list goes on!
How do I become a member?
What is the wildland-urban interface (WUI)?
The wildland-urban interface refers to the line, area, or zone where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels. Wildland fires can burn in the WUI, especially in many areas of Montana.
Why is it important for homeowners in the WUI to be prepared prior to a wildland fire?
Homeowners who take proactive steps to mitigate the risk of home ignition due to a wildland fire have a better chance of their home surviving the fire than those who do nothing to their property.
The key is in reducing the ignition potential of your home. Our hope is that as you prepare your home for survivable space, your neighbors will do likewise and a contiguous nature of each property will provide a larger, more defensible space.
What are “Firewise” concepts?
The Firewise approach emphasizes community responsibility for planning in the design of a safe community as well as effective emergency response and individual responsibility for safer home construction and design, landscaping, and maintenance. http://www.firewise.org
What are some ways homeowners can mitigate risk from wildland fire?
Firewise techniques that homeowners and communities utilize include using fire-resistant plants in their landscaping, thinning trees and brush, building with ignition-resistant materials, choosing building sites away from slopes and coordinating with firefighters and other fire management teams to develop emergency plans. Click here for Firewise Plant suggestions for Montana
Do I need to cut down all my trees in order to be “fire safe?”
No. Clearing out dead vegetation and thinning trees and brush can actually result in improved aesthetics of your property. Opening up the tree canopy allows for grass and wildflowers to flourish in the sunlight.
Whose responsibility is it to provide my property with survivable space?
It is your responsibility.
What is survivable space?
A structure in the Wildland Urban Interface chances of surviving a wildland fire are greatly increased by incorporating fuel management techniques, hardening the structure in its construction characteristics and materials, minimizing firebrand receptive beds, such as, debris, pine needles, firewood stacks, etc., and performing regular maintenance. Nothing provides a guarantee that a structure will survive a wildland fire. Our use of the term “survivable space” is a reference to this combination of topographical location of the building site, design, construction, and fuel/vegetation management to limit the ignition zone around the structure. This will provide the best chance for a structure to resist loss and/or major damage during a wildland fire, on its own, without direct suppression intervention by firefighters.