Governor receives 2022 Fire Briefing, proclaims ‘Wildfire Awareness Month’
News from the Office of the Governor
HELENA — On May 2, Governor Greg Gianforte received the 2022 Fire Briefing from local, state, tribal, and federal agency administrators and fire management officers.
“Folks around this table share a common goal: to protect our communities and natural resources from wildfire,” Gov. Gianforte said to open the briefing. “To be successful, Montana’s objective in every fire is aggressive attack, responding quickly and efficiently.”
“We know it will take a commitment from all of us to aggressively attack and employ the full range of suppression strategies on a fire,” the governor continued. “I’m calling on our partners across Montana to dedicate their agencies and resources to this end, to aggressive attack on all fires – from their ignition, beyond the first 24 hours, until they’re contained, and until they’re extinguished.”
The annual fire briefing occurred six weeks earlier than in 2021, an indication of longer fire seasons and the critical need for forest management, Gov. Gianforte explained.
According to a recent report from the Montana Drought and Water Advisory Committee, Montana is experiencing the most severe drought in over 20 years. Extreme drought combined with the current forest health crisis has created a significant risk for catastrophic wildfire.
The governor noted the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) doubled the number of forested acres treated in 2021, placing a collective 25,000 acres under active management.
“We must actively manage our forests and implement effective land management strategies,” Gov. Gianforte said as he called on partners around the table to bring more private, state, tribal, and federal acres under management.
Participants in the briefing included fire management and emergency response professionals from the DNRC, Montana National Guard, Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Northern Rockies Coordination Center, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as the presidents of the Montana State Fire Chiefs and Montana Fire County Wardens Association.
Signing a proclamation establishing the month of May as Wildfire Awareness Month, the governor said, “Wildfire poses a threat to our communities year-round. During the month of May and beyond, I call on Montanans to take the time to prepare for wildfire – follow local fire restrictions, prepare your homes and communities for wildfire, and recreate safely outside.”
To learn more about preparing for fire season and steps to become fire-adapted, visit www.mtfireinfo.org.