Wildland Fire Preparedness
How to reduce the threat of fire to yourself and your property
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Wildland fires are an inherent risk with living in the Big Sky Area. They are very large events and firefighters can not be expected to address every emergency due to being overwhelmed by requests. By taking some simple steps, you can reduce the threat to yourself and your property.
- Be prepared and heed instructions and evacuation notices. In order to receive accurate and timely information throughout the Big Sky area (in both Gallatin and Madison County), please sign your cell phone number up for the Community Notification System. Land phone lines are automatically enrolled but since we are a mobile society, cell phone registration is crucial to get notified promptly.
- While creating defensible space increases the survivability of your home, building with ignition resistant materials and general maintenance will drastically increase your homes chance to withstand a wildfire with minimal to no increase in cost. Follow these simple steps.
1. Maintain Defensible Space (0–5 feet)
Use noncombustible materials such as gravel, brick, or concrete in this critical area adjacent to your home.
2. Reduce Siding Risks
Maintain 6-inch ground-to-siding clearance, and consider noncombustible siding.
3. Clean Debris from Roof
Regularly remove debris from your roof, since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers.
4. Use a Class A Roof Covering
Class A fire-rated roofing products offer the best protection for homes.
5. Clean Out Gutters Regularly
Keep debris out of gutters since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers. If used, gutter covers should be noncombustible.
6. Reduce Fence Risks
Burning fencing can generate embers and cause direct flame contact to your home. Use noncombustible fences and gates.
7. Keep Embers out of Eaves and Vents
Use 1/8-inch mesh to cover vents, and box-in open eaves to create a soffited eave.
8. Protect Windows
Use multi-pane, tempered glass windows, and close them when a wildfire threatens.
9. Reduce Deck Risks
At a minimum, use deck boards that comply with California requirements for new construction in wildfire-prone areas, remove combustibles under deck, and maintain effective defensible space.
10. Maintain Defensible Space (5–30 feet)
Remove shrubs under trees, prune branches that overhang your roof, thin trees, and remove dead vegetation. Move trailers/RVs and storage sheds from area, or build defensible space around these items.
- The Ready, Set, Go program is the best way to prepare yourself for a community wide emergency. Please refer to this handout for more information: Ready Set Go
- Minimize the threat of fire on your property by reducing the amount of “fuels” that could burn should a wildland fire approach. For more information, please see the National Fire Protection Assocation’s Firewise handout: Firewise Information
- For ranch operators and livestock owners, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has produced this handout with helpful information: DNRC Ranch Fire Prevention
As always, you can contact BSFD for more information at 406-995-2100 or email us here.