Hunters encouraged to make wildfire prevention top priority

MONTANA FISH, WILDLIFE AND PARKS

Montana’s archery-only hunting season for deer, elk, antelope, black bear, wolf and mountain lion begins Sept. 6. Hunters driving on roads with drying vegetation, or along two-track roads, can cause late-summer fire starts.

“Hunters have a big responsibility to be fire conscious,” said Ron Aasheim, spokesman for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Helena. “It’s a matter of human safety and protecting private property and [state] resources.”

Because some Montana counties may yet adopt emergency fire restrictions, some private landowners and Block Management Area cooperators may be reluctant to make access commitments until the weather begins to cool. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks urges hunters to check in with the regional FWP office before making final plans, and always be prepared to prevent or extinguish fire starts.

“Being able to respond is essential in the first few seconds of a fire start when it’s small and easy to extinguish,” Aasheim said. “Have an action plan for fire starts as well as for other types of accidents, severe injuries and other emergencies.”

For up-to-date details on fire and drought-related restrictions and closures, visit fwp.mt.gov. Click “drought and fire updates.”

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Avoiding wildfire

• Drive only on established roads.

• Avoid roads with tall vegetation in the middle track.

• Never park over dry grass and other vegetation.

• Carry a fire extinguisher—or water-filled weed sprayer—shovel, axe, and, cell phone for emergency calls.

• Restrict camping activities to designated camping areas.

• Build campfires only in established metal fire rings, if allowed.

• Smoke only inside buildings or vehicles.

• Check on any fire restrictions in place.