New National Wildfire Plan Similar To Montana's - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

New National Wildfire Plan Similar To Montana's

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BOZEMAN -

The Obama Administration released a new management strategy to help communities prepare for the upcoming wildfire season.

The plan aims to help agencies fighting wildfires work better together as populations grow.

But area firefighters said similar strategies are already in place here in Montana.

With wildfire season approaching, fire officials said it is never too early to start protecting your home.

Rae Sourdough Fire District Assistant Chief Brian Nickolay said you can start creating a defensible space around your home while landscaping this spring.

"We recommend a three-foot space completely around the home with non-combustible materials, some type of rock, decorative rock a lot of people will use," said Nickolay.

Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior and Council on Environmental Quality released the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.

The national plan includes many safety tips Nickolay has been telling people for years to make your property "fire wise."

"Making sure the trees are pruned up and well-shaped and the trees, if they're dead, they're removed," said Nickolay.

The federal government developed the plan to better coordinate with federal, state and local agencies across the country new approaches for minimizing destructive fires.

The USDA said this plan, which addresses climate change and urban sprawl, will better protect 46 million homes across the country.

Nickolay, who often fights fires in the urban sprawl area around Bozeman, said not taking the proper steps around your home could actually destroy it.

"We're at a stance where we are not going to put our lives at intermediate risk to protect a home that has not been prepared," Nickolay.

President Barack Obama is also changing how wildfire fighting is funded in his 2015 budget proposal.

Under that proposal, the nation's largest wildfires, such as last year's Lolo Complex Fire near Missoula, would be declared natural disasters and paid for FEMA, instead of the forest service and Department of Interior.

The U.S. Forest Service and Department of Interior spend about $3.5 billion a year fighting wildfires.

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