Governor Says Montana Will Aggressively Attack All Fires in 2023
The two main speakers included Dan Borsum with the NRGA (Northern Rockies Geographical Area) with his forecast of the fire season, and Matt Hall DNRC (Department of Natural Resources and Conservation) Fire Protection Bureau Chief with information about wildfire prevention and preparedness.
Governor Gianforte welcomed Several Wildfire Agency Heads for the Briefing
Governor Gianforte began by thanking all the attendees and lining out his priorities for the 2023 fire season.
“One, aggressive attack on all fires, and secondly, to work on prevention to keep the fires from happening in the first place,” began Governor Gianforte. “With every fire, we must respond with one goal and that is to put the fire out safely and as quickly as possible. Regardless of where a fire starts, we must apply the same operating principle. An aggressive initial attack is not enough. We must pursue a policy of aggressive attack on all fires until they are completely extinguished so long as firefighter safety is not compromised.”
Gianforte was proud of one Important Statistic from Last Season
Gianforte provided a remarkable statistic from last year’s fire season.
“Last year, and I'm really proud of the work that the state did at DNRC, because with our partners, we kept 95 percent of our fires at 10 acres or less. That's a remarkable achievement and really shows the work that was done. We have to continue to work to make that a reality this year as well.”
Hall provided more statistics on the current fire season.
“To date, we've had 705 wildfires that have burned 1217 acres,” said Hall. “As you mentioned earlier, 87 percent of those fires are human-caused. Firefighters across the state have been incredibly, incredibly successful with aggressive initial attacks keeping fires small and quickly bringing them under control. Our wildland firefighters have taken advantage of this slow ramp-up in activity to conduct more training, further ensuring their readiness while assisting our neighbors across the West.”
Borsum brought up the fact that Northwest Montana is currently in the highest wildfire danger due to a lack of moisture in those counties, and that wildfire officials must watch the area carefully through the summer and the 2023 wildfire season.
One Important Statistic was that 87 Percent of Wildfires were Human Caused
Wrapping up the nearly 30-minute briefing, Gianforte repeated some of the important statistics and urged Montanans to recreate safely this summer and throughout the wildfire season.
“87 percent of the fires we've seen so far this year have been human-caused and we all have a part in making sure that campfire doesn't get out of control or sparks don't get off the swather, or whatever it is that’s going to start that fire,” he said. “And, as you mentioned, Matt, be prepared by having an evacuation plan. If you're in an area that's vulnerable to fire, you have to be ready to go. Worse than the loss of structures is loss of life, and you need to get out of the way.”