Missoula County Fire Protection Association
Protecting People, Homes & Natural Resources  |  Southwest Montana
Missoula County Fire Protection Association
THANK YOU for wanting to learn about unplanned wildfire in western Montana.
Common Causes
Humans cause most wildfires. Lightning storms produce a share of ignitions, but here on our uniquely fire planet, people are very effective at causing costly to control, unplanned, landscape-scale fire.

The #1 cause of wildfire in Missoula County is escaped debris fire. Others: fireworks; burning cigarette butts; lawn mowers in rocky, dry grass; off-road vehicles; chainsaws.... All it takes is fuel, heat, oxygen and a heartbeat of time and voila: COMBUSTION.
One Less Spark
It's important to recognize a situation where you could cause a fire without even trying and prevent that event.

Share With Us on FACEBOOK ~ What's the weirdest way you've ever heard that a wildfire ignited?
A regularly watered lawn surrounding your home can retard the spread of flames from a nearby wildfire. If you can't keep a greenbelt, make sure vegetation is maintained at its lowest height. For maximum safety, do this work well before fire season.

Firewise USA is an excellent resource for learning techniques that will help your property survive a wildfire flame front.
Small is best for campfires. Use small diameter fuel in a small fire pit. It keeps the flames from getting too big and sparking a wildfire, and when time to depart, the smaller material burns to ash more quickly, so you can leave sooner. Never leave a campfire unattended EVER.  Make sure the ash is cold to the touch. Use your fingers. Stir the ash:

Make sure it's dead out !

Make sure there are no restrictions.
Missoula County Fire Protection Association Montana
So you let your property's vegetation go wild and now it's an active fire season. Before you mow/cut down that vegetation, read this:

1) In cured grass, forgo a lawn mower blade; use a stringed weed-whacker.

2) Water soak the outside edge of the area and work before 10 am.  Keep water source and tools, such as a shovel, on hand.

3) Use a spotter, someone who can immediately call 9-1-1 while you try to suppress the ignition if one starts.

Do not discard cigarettes from moving vehicles; use ash trays.

When pulling off the side of the road, stay off dry grassy areas.

Do not operate all-terrain vehicles on dry vegetation areas.

Check lawnmowers and farm equipment for properly working spark arresters.
Properly extinguish fires when cooking outdoors and never leave fires unattended.

People start most wildfires. Promote and practice fire safety with all members of your family.

Clearly mark all driveway entrances with name and address.

Plan several escape routes away from your home both by car and on foot
Learn more from MCFPA about creating defensible space around your home from wildfire.