As students go back to school, wildfire season reaches its peak in Montana. State fire officials say that in the last week of August there were more than 42,000 lightning strikes in a 36-hour period that sparked over three dozen wildfires in and around the Northern Rockies. According to published reports, one of the lightning strikes resulted in a 2,000 acre wildfire that threatened 256 homes before firefighters set up protection lines.
With wildfire season underway, Montana communities are looking for ways to reduce wildfire risk. Many Montanans have already taken steps to have their communities become recognized Firewise Communities and have lowered their risk of wildfire damage. The city of Bigfork, Em Kayan Village, and neighborhoods such as Elkhorn in Whitefish are among 15 communities within the state that participate in the national Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program, and have undertaken wildfire safety efforts for several years.