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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

FireSafe Flathead Meetings Help Landowners Prepare For Wildfires

Last year's Copper King fire burned more than 27,000 acres outside Thompson Falls
The interior of the Copper King Fire outside of Thompson Falls on August 9, 2016

Fire season is, for many people, a single season. But a team of resource managers and homeowners in the Flathead Valley is trying to change that.

FireSafe Flathead is a group of firefighters, emergency planners, state and federal resource managers, and homeowner association members who meet monthly to plan a more proactive, community-based response to the threat of wildfire.

"There are a lot of people who think about fire, talk about fire, work with fire year round," says Ali Ulwelling, a fire prevention specialist for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation based in Kalispell.

"Part of creating those fire adapted communities is recognizing that there’s more to a fire season than July, August, September," Ulwelling says.

FireSafe Flathead’s March meeting on Friday focused on how best to connect people living in fire-prone areas with resources available to them to help them protect personal property. FireSafe Flathead is planning public events this spring to educate homeowners on best practices, like clearing brush away from structures, and meeting with homeowner associations to conduct property assessments.

The group is also revising the Flathead County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which will be ready for public comment later this year.

FireSafe Flathead will host a presentation and Q&A called "Era of Megafires" on April 25 at Flathead Valley Community College at 6:00 p.m.

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.
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