Posted: Jul 10, 2012 6:04 PM by Chet Layman - MTN
Updated: Jul 10, 2012 6:55 PM
BOZEMAN - Fire season 2012 is well underway, and with forecasts showing no real relief in sight, more fires could be coming to put Montana homes in danger. When it comes time to evacuate, sheriff's deputies will make the ultimate decision to tell people it's time to leave their homes.
Red flag warnings have been the norm of late around much of Montana, including high temperatures, low humidity and high winds.
While many fires across the state are under control, Gallatin County Sheriff's Office Lt. Jason Jarrett notes the season is still young.
"We had a little respite. Last week or so has been very civilized, been very nice around here, but my guess is as we head through July in to August, which is typically our burn times, the end of August, that you're going to be seeing more and more of the smoke in the air and the deputies in the driveways," he said.
If those deputies end up in your driveway, Jarrett says it will come in two steps - the warning you may have to leave and the request to leave.
"The warning phase, we'll probably have a smile on our face and be glad to talk to you, and spend some time with you. If we show up with a notice to leave, we're pretty serious about it. Your life, your life is in danger, and unless you're prepared to stay there, it's time to go, and it's time to go now."
Jarrett notes that no one will be forced to leave their home, but if someone chooses to stay, they may be doing so at their own risk. His suggestion is if you live in an area that may face evacuation, prepare now because fire season 2012 will be around for quite a while.
Preparing includes boxing photos and items than cannot be replaced, having a copy of your medical information including prescription medications and having a supply of clothing and other essentials you might need for time away from your home. Make sure all of these items are ready to go, should you receive a request to leave.
For more info on wildfire, and how to be prepared to evacuate, and what to do when you return home, click on MSU Extension online.