After the historic 2017 wildfire season that burned over a million acres of forestland as well as private property, officials with the DNRC are advising residents in the wildland urban interface to prepare their properties for fire.

Fire Prevention Specialist with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Jordan Koppen said he has already received a large number of requests to examine and recommend fire prevention strategies from area residents, and has set up reader boards in drainages most likely to be affected by wildfire.

“We set them up in the Rattlesnake and a couple of weeks ago up Pattee Creek, and this week up O’Brien Creek,” said Koppen. “We’ve had quite a few inquiries and it’s to the point that I’m working with our partners at the DNRC and the Forest Service, Missoula Rural and Missoula City Fire Departments, and we’re going to try to get all those people taken care of. It’s a big load, but it’s exciting to see that people are starting to catch on to the idea that a fire professional can come out and help me determine my wildfire risk around my property.”

Koppen said there are some simple strategies that can help keep wildfires from burning a home.

“Make sure you don’t have juniper bushes right up against your home,” he said. “Clear out your gutters and the valleys on your roof, and make sure those vents are covered with 1/8th inch screen. If you do have a lot of trees, maybe I can come up and assist, or have one of those service foresters come out and take a look at it, too because they know how to keep a healthy forest. There are ways to help your home defend itself in case you are evacuated and no one will be there to stop the wildfire.”

Koppen encourages property owners to call his office at the DNRC at 542-4321 for details on the fuels reduction program.