With the end of Wildfire Awareness Month for Montana, here are a few tips to ensure the area around your home is safe and ready for wildfire season. 

According to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, firefighting resources for homes may be limited during major wildfires. Studies show that at least 80% of homes are lost to wildland fires that could have been saved by following a few safe practices around your home. That is why it is essential to make sure your house is prepared. 

There are three zones to be aware of when preparing the outside of your home. Zone one is 0 to 20 feet around the house. Remove any low-bearing branches on trees that are touching or hanging over the roof. Use fire-resistant rock mulch or concrete at least 0- 5 feet around the home to prevent flames from reaching it. Store any combustible materials at least 30 feet away from the area of the home. Use non-wood, low-growing vegetation around the house like succulents and ground covers. 

Zone two is 30 -100 feet from homes. Keep wildflowers and grasses under eight inches around the house. Create areas of vegetation around the home to break up fire fuels around the house. Remove dead pine needs and leaves from the yard and remove ladder fuels around the vicinity of the home. Ladder fuels are areas around trees and vegetation that allows flames to climb taller trees. Homeowners can avoid ladder fuels by creating barriers of vegetation vertically and diagonally. 

Zone three is 100 to 200 feet from homes. Remove dead shrubs and leaves from the area and maintain at least ten feet between the tops of trees. Removing ladder fuels helps prevent flames from climbing up trees near homes. 

Taking these preventive measures is one of the best defenses in making sure houses do not catch fire. Homeowners can also request a wildfire preparedness site visit to ensure the areas around homes are fire safe.