Month: April 2024

NEWS RELEASE – Wildfire Preparedness Month

April 29th, 2024

News Release
Wildfire Preparedness Month

News release prepared by:
Battalion Chief Greg Orr

The weather is finally warming up, the grass is green again, and everyone is looking forward to summer’s arrival. While things are lush and green right now, it will not be long before warm temperatures turn hot, rain diminishes, and wildfire season begins in Montana. As we know, in Montana, wildfires burn across our beautiful state every year, threatening communities and neighborhoods. As more and more people move into the wildland-urban interface, The Missoula Rural Fire District wants to remind you that now is the time to prepare your home for wildfire before fire season arrives.

May is wildfire preparedness month; here are some pointers to help you prepare your home for fire season:

In and around your home

  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches, and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
  • Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch within 10 feet of the house. The Firewise website offers more information about the basics of defensible space.
  • Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with 1/8 inch wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
  • Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If they can catch fire, keep them from touching your house, deck, or porch.
  • Wildfires can spread to treetops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
  • Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent embers from entering the home.
  • Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screens with 1/8 inch metal mesh to prevent ember entry.


Create an emergency plan.

  • Assemble an emergency supply kit and place it in a safe spot. Remember to include important documents, medications, and personal identification.
  • Develop an emergency evacuation plan and practice it with everyone in your home.
  • Plan two ways out of your neighborhood and designate a meeting place.
  • Learn more about emergency preparedness planning on NFPA’s emergency planning webpage.

If a wildfire is threatening your home.

  • Stay aware of the latest news and updates from inciweb, your local media and fire department. Prepare your family, home, and pets to evacuate.
  • Place your emergency supply kit and other valuables in your vehicle.
  • Move patio or deck furniture, cushions, door mats, and potted plants into wooden containers indoors or as far away from the home, shed, and garage as possible.
  • Close and protect your home’s openings, including attic and basement doors and vents, windows, garage doors, and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating.
  • Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. Firefighters have used these hoses and stored water for fires.
  • Leave as early as possible, before you’re told to evacuate. Do not linger once evacuation orders have been given. Promptly leaving your home and neighborhood clears roads for firefighters to get equipment in place to fight the fire and helps ensure residents’ safety.

Missoula Rural Fire District’s Wildfire Risk Reduction crews are available to help homeowners prepare their homes and properties for fire season. Contact MRFD Station #1 at 406-549-6172 to learn more or schedule an appointment.


For more information or media inquiries on wildfire preparedness, please visit visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website at, or contact MRFD Station #1 at 406-549-6172.


Press Release – Grass Fire: Deadman Gulch

April 19, 2024
News release prepared by:
Battalion Chief Michael Bowman

At approximately 1:29 pm on April 19, 2024, the Missoula County 9-1-1 Center dispatched Missoula Rural Fire District (MRFD) to the area of Deadman Gulch and Cochise Drive south of Missoula for an out-of-control fire on a hillside. A large column of smoke was visible from Missoula as units were responding.

The initial arriving MRFD fire unit reported approximately one acre burning in grass on a steep slope. This unit controlled the fire that was encroaching on a residence immediately adjacent to the fire. Subsequent arriving units were assigned to the East and South sides of the fire to stop further progression. Fire crews controlled and contained the fire to 1.5 acres. Fire crews were on the scene for a little over three hours to fully extinguish this fire.

MRFD responded with three engines, one water tender and one command unit. The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) assisted with two engines. There were no injuries reported, and no structures of any kind were involved. MRFD would like to thank the Missoula County Sheriffs Office and Florence Volunteer Fire Department for assistance at the scene and emergency coverage to the Lolo area while units were on this incident.

This fire was a permitted burn that quickly became out of control due to windy conditions. MRFD urges people that wish to activate a burn permit to check the weather forecast prior to lighting the burn. It was a nice sunny day, but the weather forecast called for wind at 10-14 mph, with 25 mph gusts. These types of wind conditions pose a considerable risk to a fire burning out of control. The property involved in the fire today was mitigated by MRFD’s fuels reduction team last summer. The result of this project’s work prevented this fire from becoming a large, more dangerous incident. If you have a property in the wildland urban interface area and would like more information on fuel mitigation work around your home, please contact MRFD.


For additional information on this incident or fire safety, please contact MRFD at 406-549-6172.

PRESS RELEASE – Wildland Fire in the North Hills of Missoula

March 30, 2024
News release prepared by:
Battalion Chief Ron Lubke
At approximately 5:55 pm on Saturday, March 30, 2024, The Missoula Rural Fire District (MRFD), the Missoula Fire Department (MFD), and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) were dispatched to the area north of 1500 Spurlock Road for a reported wildland fire. Missoula County 911 received several reports of a fire spreading in the north hills above the Republic Services landfill.
The exact location of the fire was unclear, and crews had to approach from several different directions to find access to the fire. Several homeowners in the area provided access points to fire crews in an attempt to reach the fire.
Arriving at the fire, crews found an active fire burning in light flashy fuels. The fire was spreading in several directions. Crews initiated an attack on several flanks of the fire. Once crews arrived at the fire it took about 40 minutes to bring the fire under control, and the fire was extinguished in just over two hours.
The fire burned over eight acres. No structures were threatened or damage, and there were no injuries to civilians or firefighters. Four engines, one water tender and two command units responded to the fire with a total of 12 firefighters. The cause of the fire is under investigation by MRFD and the Missoula Couty Sherriff Office.
MRFD would like to remind the public that even though we are just coming out of winter, lighter fuels that cured last summer are still dry and ready to burn. Please exercise caution when burning outdoors and never leave your fire unattended. Even a small campfire can spread quickly. If you must leave your fire extinguish it before leaving.
For additional information on this incident or fire safety please contact MRFD at 406-549-6172.