Wildfire Awareness Week Sends Message of Plan, Prepare, Prevent - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Wildfire Awareness Week Sends Message of Plan, Prepare, Prevent

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BOZEMAN - Wildfire season is approaching in Montana, prompting agencies across the state to send a reminder that it's never too early to prepare and keep your home safe in the face of danger.

Fire safety statistics show 80% of homes lost to wildland fire could have been saved if their owners had followed a few simple prevention techniques.

Whether it's thinning trees on your property or cleaning the leaves out of gutters, a little goes a long way.

"You want to look from the home out, clearing the brush, clearing all the dead leaves away, maybe wood piles need to move further away from the house," recommends Gallatin Co. Fire Warden Kerry O'Connell.

"Things like leaves in the gutters, ladders fuels, you always don't want trees too close together. You may need to thin out those trees," O'Connell said.

This week the American Red Cross of Montana, the Governor's Office, Firesafe Montana, Keep Montana Green and the DNRC join together in the 2nd Annual Wildfire Awareness Week to send the message of plan, prepare and prevent to Montana homeowners as fire season approaches.

"We are all joining together to make sure people take action on behalf of themselves, their properties and they communities during wildfire season. We're not just in wildfire season yet, but it's just around the corner," Anna Fernandez-Gevaert, Communications Director for the American Red Cross of Montana.

Each day of wildfire awareness week features a different theme ranging from preparing for an evacuation to home ignition zone.

Wednesday's message: prepare your property for wildfire season.

Fernandez-Gevaert says every wildfire season, the Red Cross is on stand by to help anyone affected by a wildfire, even those who lose their homes.

"We have to be ready within 2 hours of an evacuation to receive people at a shelter," Fernandez-Gevaert said. "We also provide emotional support, because when people see their houses have burned down it's obviously very traumatic."

One message Fernandez-Gevaert says she can't repeat enough: it's never too early to be prepared.


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