This month (July) marks 2 KEY wildfire anniversaries which serve as an important reminder that north central Montana families need to take PROACTIVE steps to protect themselves & their property against wildfires. To determine your property's risk, contact your local fire department. They will be able to provide specific information about your area's hazards, & you may be able to offer an individual assessment on your home. Create defensible space around your property. Clear leaves & other debris from gutters, eaves, porches & decks-DON'T use these areas for storage of flammable items. Keep lawns hydrated & maintained. Dry grass & shrubs are fuel for wildfire. Remove flammable materials with 5 feet of the home's foundation & outbuildings, including garages & sheds. If it can catch fire, don't let it touch the house, deck or wood fencing. Reduce vegetation surrounding the home's perimeter from a 5 to 30 foot area & manage vegetation there to 200 feet or the property line, depending on the area's wildfire risk. Build an Emergency Kit & make a Family Communications Plan. Visit: for preparedness checklists. During a wildfire, listen to local evacuation orders. DON'T wait to see what will happen. Due to many variables, including winds, wildfires can change course & speed quickly. For more information on the current wildfire threat, visit the National Interagency Fire Center's Monthly Wildland Fire Potential Outlook. For additional information on wildfire mitigation resources, visit FEMA Region VIII's Wildfire Mitigation Resources Page or: A timeline of some of the most significant wildfires to affect our 6 state region covered by FEMA's Denver regional office is available at FEMA Region VIII's Wildfire Timeline Page. FEMA's mission is to support our citizens & first responders & to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, & improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, & mitigate all hazards. Let's all have a "burning" desire to keep Montana safe during this wildfire season.