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.