Since Missoula is surrounded by forestland, and many homes and developments are in what is called 'the wildland urban interface', preparing a defensible space around residential property is essential.

Public Relations Specialist with the Southwestern Land Office, Jordan Koppen, said awareness and preparation are the keys to avoiding wildfire danger.

"If you live out in the woods, fire can happen at any time, whether it be from a human-caused fire or lightning, we could get a lot of lightning starts this season, you just never know," Koppen said. "You want to create a fuel break, so five feet out from your house you want to eliminate all trees and shrubs to protect against embers. Embers are actually what bring down homes in most cases."

Koppen said to get all firewood piles a safe distance from the home.

"Get woodpiles out from under your home or deck area," he said. "You don't have to cut down all the trees around your property, just make sure you have good spacing. Make sure the pine needles are off your roof and the gutters are cleaned out. Visit Ready - Set  Go, and definitely check out all you can do to protect  your home from wildfires."

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