Not yet out of the woods

Although fall has officially arrived and the weather has cooled off, we are not out of the woods when it comes to fire danger. Below are a few tips from Firewise to help you prepare now and in the tragic event that wildfire strikes near your home.

• Complete a home inventory – this will assist in talking with your insurance provider should you suffer a loss due to a wildfire. Consider making a video walk-through of your possessions and keep that in a safe off-site location.

• Sign up for local Emergency Notifications/Alerts.

• Have an Evacuation Plan and a designated meeting place where family members will reconnect after the evacuation. Ensure everyone in the household knows the plan and meeting place location.

• Have an off-site phone number, (relative, etc.) where family members can check in and provide status information.

• Have a plan and supplies for your pets.

• Make sure you have a supply of important medication in your go-bag.

• Know which personal items (pictures, documents, etc.) have been prioritized to take if time permits, when evacuation is necessary.

• Remove deck/patio furniture, cushions and door mats to prevent ember ignitions.

• Remove portable propane tanks from your deck/patio.

• Know how to turn off the gas to your home.

• Place a ladder against the house for Fire Department use.

• Have your garden hoses connected for Fire Department use.

• Make sure windows, doors and garage doors are closed.

This fall might also be a good time to consider reducing fuels such as downed trees, limbs and overgrowth on the land around your home site. A fuels mitigation program funded by a grant from the Bureau of Land Management and managed through a Snowy Mountain Development Corporation partnership with the various County Conservation Districts, offers rural landowners a cost-share program that can cover up to 75 percent of the cost of fuel reduction efforts around a home site. A major emphasis of this Fuels Mitigation program is to empower homeowners to take responsibility for making their homes as wildfire defensible as possible.

For more fire prevention tips, visit firewise.org. To learn more about the cost-share program, contact SMDC or one of these County Conservation District administrators:

Fergus and Judith Basin County, Teresa Wilhelms, 566-2311, extension 107; Golden Valley and Musselshell County, Donna Pedrazzi, 323-2103, extension 101; or Petroleum County, Carie Hess, 429-6646, extension 4.

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When do you think the snow will finally be melted in Lewistown?