Lincoln County FireSafe Council

Lincoln County FireSafe Council

Helping Lincoln County Montana citizens to mitigate fire hazards on their property
and increase the chance their property will survive a wildfire!

Frequently Asked Questions

Download the Homeowner's Checklist in PDF format.

Wildland Fire in the Urban Interface FAQ’s

What is the wildland‐urban interface (WUI)? The wildland‐urban interface refers to the line, area, or zone where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels. Wildland fires can burn in the WUI.

Why is it important for homeowners in the WUI to be prepared prior to a wildland fire? Homeowners who take proactive steps to mitigate the risk of home ignition due to a wildland fire have a better chance of their home surviving the fire than those that do nothing to their property. The key is in reducing the ignition potential of your home. Our hope is that as you prepare your home for survivable space, your neighbors will do likewise and a contiguous nature of each property will provide a larger, more defensible space.

What are "Firewise" concepts? The Firewise approach emphasizes community responsibility for planning in the design of a safe community as well as effective emergency response, and individual responsibility for safer home construction and design, landscaping, and maintenance.

What are some ways homeowners can mitigate risk from wildland fire? Firewise techniques that homeowners and communities utilize include using fire‐resistant plants in their landscaping, thinning trees and brush, building with ignitionresistant materials, choosing building sites away from slopes and coordinating with firefighters and other fire management teams to develop emergency plans.

Do I need to cut down all my trees in order to be "fire safe?" No. Remove "ladder fuels" (low –level vegetation that allows the fire to spread from the ground to the tree canopy). Create a separation between low‐level vegetation and tree branches. Clearing out dead vegetation and thinning trees and brush can actually result in improved aesthetics of your property. Opening up the tree canopy allows for grass and wildflowers to flourish in the sunlight.

Who’s responsibility is it to provide my property with survivable space? It is your responsibility.

What is survivable space? A structure in the Wildland Urban Interface chances of surviving a wildland fire are greatly increased by incorporating fuel management techniques, hardening the structure in its construction characteristics and materials, minimizing firebrand receptive beds, such as, debris, pine needles, firewood stacks, etc., and performing regular maintenance. Nothing provides a guarantee that a structure will survive a wildland fire. Our use of the term "survivable space" is a reference to this combination of topographical location of the building site, design, construction, and fuel/vegetation management to limit the ignition zone around the structure. This will provide the best chance for a structure to resist loss and/or major damage during a wildland fire, on its own, without direct suppression intervention by firefighters.

What is the community ignition zone? As homeowners, we have the most power to modify fuel conditions on our own properties, but it is not enough to only treat your own property. We need to work together to create survivable space for the entire community. Communities need to work together to develop a wildfire protection plan, strategically locate greenbelts / fuel breaks, ensure adequate community infrastructure, etc. Contact the Lincoln County Firesafe Council (Ed Levert) at 406‐293‐2847 for more information about what is happening in the area.

Doesn’t the fire department protect my home from wildfire? During a major wildfire, it is unlikely there will be enough firefighting resources available to defend every home. In those instances, firefighters will likely select homes they can safely and effectively protect. Even with adequate resources, some wildfires may be so intense that there may be little that firefighters can do to prevent a house from burning. The key is to reduce intensity as wildfire nears the house. Consequently, the most important person in protecting a house from wildfire is not a firefighter, but the property owner. It’s the action taken by the owner before the wildfire occurs (such as proper landscaping) that is critical.

How important is roofing material? Very important. The roof is the largest surface area of most structures and the most vulnerable to wildfire. It can easily catch fire from wind‐blown embers. Use Uniform Building Code class A roofing materials, such as fireglass reinforced asphalt shingles, slate or clay tile or metal. Roof eaves extending beyond exterior walls are also susceptible to flame exposure. Limit them in length and box or enclose them with fire resistant materials.

Survivable Space Home Ignition Zones Homeowner's Exterior Checklist Homeowner's Interior Checklist Frequently Asked Questions
Grant Information
2016 Lincoln County Fuel Reduction Grants Available
» Wildlfire Risk Assessment Application

» Landowner's Guide 04-25-12

» Homeowner's Checklist

» Living with Fire