By Montana Grant

Posted: September 10, 2020

Fire is a sad reality when living in a forested Montana. Everyone wants that dream home surrounded by pines, wildlife, and open spaces. The problem is that everything in that beautiful scene is flammable. The recent dry heat, wind, and no rain set the stage for a fire to start.

Still no explanation for what started the fire in the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman. It began in the Bridger foothills, near the popular M Trail and other public trails. When the fire started last week, it quickly blew up into an inferno that tracked over the mountain and east toward Jackson Creek road. Hopefully, the fire was not started by a Grizz Fan.

Over 7,000 acres, 28 homes, numerous outdoor structures and some livestock lay in ashes. The fire is still ongoing but has greatly slowed thanks to snow, rain, and cooler temperatures. That will all change this week as things heat up again. No more rain is in the forecast until next week.

Some homes seemed to have saved themselves thanks to proper fire prevention thinning and techniques. These landowners managed their forests, grasslands, and property appropriately to help minimize fire damage.

Propane storage tanks exploded during the fire. Many are still in harms way and could also explode. The fire department, FWP, and smokejumpers are still on the ground overseeing any potential problems. Much of the area has been evacuated.

The M and other area trails remain closed. The area communities have donated supplies and money to support their neighbors.

Some helpful tips for other forested homeowners.

Take video inventory of your home and property for potential insurance reference.

Inventory art, guns, possessions, and vehicles.

Secure important paperwork, valuables, memories, and digital records in a fireproof vault. Banks also offer secure storage boxes. Gun safes are fire resistant, not fireproof.

Clear a fireproof perimeter around your property. Check with the FWP for a free survey and visit. Their website gives more specifics.

Place and store fuels in more fireproof areas. Keep away from structure and property where they can explode and ignite them.

Have an evacuation plan in place.

Prepare for the worst and it could save your life and property.

Consider what “stuff” you have, that you cannot live without. Make sure that your fire and disaster insurance is in place.

Things happen! We live in Montana. Be prepared!

Montana Grant

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