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Lewistown Field Office
Release Date: 07/03/12
Contacts: Karly DeMars    
  (406) 538-1086    

Central Montana Firefighting Community Teaches Fire Safety

Lewistown, MT----Nearly 600 central Montana school kids (kindergarten through sixth grade) enjoyed great weather and a wide variety of lessons and demonstrations about wildfires and fire safety during the recent Central Montana Wildfire Education Day in Lewistown, Montana.

The students learned about fire ecology, fire suppression, prescribed fire, structural firefighting, wildfire and home safety, mountain pine beetles, fire prevention, wildlife and wildfire, First American use of fire/fire carriers, and fire behavior with a match stick forest. Smokey Bear was also in attendance and, as usual, drew quite a crowd. 

This year’s Wildfire Education Day was held around the trade center and carnival areas at the Central Montana Fairgrounds and the open space provided a great venue for the City of Lewistown’s ladder truck, pumper engines from various county rural fire departments and state and federal agencies, a heavy duty helicopter brought in by the State of Montana, a 25-foot Smokey Bear cold-air balloon, and numerous demonstration/information stations. 

It took a few minutes to get the first couple groups of excited school kids to arrive divided among different presentations and then rotating at 15-minute intervals. But before long all the kids were rotating among stations and firefighting equipment displays and asking a huge variety of questions.

“The engagement and excitement of the students and teachers is exactly what all of us involved with Wildfire Education Day wanted. If these kids can learn a little about fire safety around the home or in the woods the day has been a huge success,” offered Karly DeMars, a fire mitigation and education specialist with the BLM in Lewistown. 

The Wildfire Education Day is a cooperative effort among the City of Lewistown, Fergus County Rural Fire Departments, Fergus County Disaster & Emergency Services, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

These firefighting entities would like to remind everyone that there are several primary sources that can start wildland fires. Those sources include; lightning, campfires, smoking, debris burning, incendiary, equipment use, railroad traffic, children, fireworks and a variety of miscellaneous causes (power lines, blasting, welding, etc.). 

“We encourage everyone using the outdoors to be extremely cautious as it appears we are at the start of a very busy wildland fire season,” DeMars added.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Lewistown Field Office   920 NE Main      Lewistown, Montana 59457  

Last updated: 07-03-2012