It is somewhat amazing when I look at a map of Montana fires that Lincoln County has remained relatively unscathed. Yes, we have had some pretty significant fires (Gibralter for one), but (knock on wood) no loss of life or structures. This isn’t just a result of good luck, but because of the professional responses by our firemen, sheriff’s office and county disaster and emergency services.
However, I must recognize some of the true heroes during this fire season. That would be you the citizens of this county. There isn’t too much you can do to prevent a lightning caused fire, but the fact that we have had very few people caused fires gives me great hope that our citizens are fully aware of the fire environment we live in. We must continue to remain vigilant throughout this fire season.
In the 22 years that I have lived in Libby this is one fire season that has my full attention. As the supposed expert in how to FireWise your property I knew that I still wasn’t fully ready myself. This year my wife and I have gone all out, with sprinklers set up around all our buildings, all litter cleaned from the flower beds next to the house, grass mowed around our four acres, etc. Not only that, but we have our list of items to take and a plan on what we will do in the event of an evacuation. I can only hope that if we need to evacuate that we have done all that we could possibly do and that we have a reasonable chance that our home and out buildings will survive a wildfire.
I would hope that you too would be safe guarding your property and preparing for an evacuation. If you have questions on how to FireWise your home or actions to take in the event of an evacuation order, go to www.lcfiresafe.com or call your local fire department.
Ed Levert is Lincoln County Forester.