Public Wildfire Preparedness Conference

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Although there is still snow in the mountains, the robins have arrived for their yearly visit to build their nests and rear their young. With the mild winter, we need to start preparing our “nests” for fire season, which is just around the corner.

As we have experienced warmer temperatures in the past, fire seasons have been starting earlier and ending later. Homeowners, especially in a rural area like we live in, need to be concerned about grass, brush and forest fires.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) Fire Prevention Program and FireSafe Montana will be hosting a Montana Communities and Wildfire event to unite homeowners with necessary personnel in order to make their homes and neighborhoods safe before the threat of wildfire. When homeowners take personal responsibility in applying and maintaining Firewise (www.firewise.org) practices on their property, they greatly increase the chances of their homes surviving a wildfire.

FireSafe Montana is a non-profit group geared towards assisting Montanans in establishing fire-adapted communities by creating survivable space for their homes, neighborhoods and communities. FireSafe Montana has joined the CSKT Fire Prevention Program to build the Flathead Native FireSafe Council.

Together, they are working to reduce the potential loss of life and property from wildfire in Montana through public information (newsletters, website, special events, etc.) and through an active involvement in federal, state, and local fire mitigation efforts. FireSafe Montana actively encourages and assists in the development of local FireSafe councils across the state. These councils are key in raising public awareness of local wildland fire threats and issues, motivating residents to take action for their safety, and providing access to the expertise and resources communities and homeowners need to get the job done.

The event will be held at the KwaTaqNuk Resort in Polson. Opening night, Monday, April 9, 2012, is a free community event beginning at 6:15 p.m. Yamncut will provide the Opening Ceremony. Tony Harwood, CSKT Forest Planning and Inventory Division manager, will be speaking on traditional fire use practices: past and present. Fire consultant and wildland fire expert Rick Trembath will be addressing fire around homes, case studies from Montana, success and failures.

On Tuesday, April 10, Bob Harrington, Montana’s state forester, will open up the conference with the importance of working together to make our communities safe. The day will continue with wildfire preparedness presentations form state and nationally recognized experts as well as provide tools needed to equip homeowners to mitigate wildfire risk.

The CSKT Fire Prevention team and FireSafe Montana has extended an invitation to Tribal housing, Tribal officials, county officials, fire departments, volunteer fire departments, law enforcement, emergency disaster services and all citizens interested in learning more about wildfire preparedness.

If you have any questions or need assistance in registration, please call Curtiss Matt at (406) 676-2550 ext. 6454 or Jennifer Mayberry (406) 431-8718.

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