Today, the annual fire season briefing was delivered to Governor Brian Schweitzer. The briefing included presentations from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Northern Rockies Coordination Center, Local Government, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Disaster and Emergency Services and the Montana National Guard.
"We've already burned more than 30,000 acres this year," said Governor Schweitzer, who noted a couple of large fires on the Blackfeet Reservation in January as well as a 7,000 acre fire east of Havre in mid-March. "The hot, dry weather this month has also elevated the fire risk in some areas to unseasonably high."
Early season predictions about the fire season in Montana and throughout the Northern Rockies geographic area don't point to an extreme season, but even in an "average" season, fire crews for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation will respond to 350 wildfires.
"Local, state and federal firefighting operations are always prepared for the season, but wildfire preparedness carries individual responsibility for homeowners in the wildland urban interface. Firefighters count on homeowners and rural landowners to do their part by reducing flammable materials from their properties to create defensible space in fire-prone areas," said Schweitzer.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation will conduct a pilot project utilizing the social media site Twitter to release fire information. "Twitter will not replace our traditional information-sharing methods, such as Inciweb or news releases," said DNRC Director Mary Sexton. "It is another tool we will employ to assist us in timely dissemination of fire information."
Visit the FireReady Montana web site at www.serve.mt.gov for more information on how to prepare for fire season.