The Montana/Dakotas Fuels Management Program's goal is to ensure public and firefighter safety, reduce risks to communities, and to improve and maintain ecosystem health based on the 10-Year Comprehensive Strategy.
Cooperation among our federal and non-federal partners, local communities, and individuals has further advanced our fire management successes.
BLM fuel program managers examine conditions on public lands to assess potential wildfire hazards. In areas where the risk of a wildfire is high due to vegetative conditions, we develop strategies to reduce the amount of fuel and improve the health of the land. Once plans are developed, they are implemented using a variety of methods. To ensure that wildland vegetation is managed in a manner that provides for public safety, and at the same time preserves the environment, BLM fuel program managers work hand in hand with other natural resource specialists to assess fuels which can feed wildland fires. Together, these professionals develop vegetation management strategies which address hazardous fuel loading within the wildland-urban interface (areas where homes and human lives are adjacent to public wildlands). Plans are put in place which provide for vegetative growth that is sustainable both environmentally and economically.
Treatments are planned and implemented within the wildland urban interface communities as well as outside communities in the surrounding ecosystem. A broad range of tools is used to ensure on-the-ground conditions are met to reduce and manage fuels in the Montana/Dakotas. These include: prescribed fire, mechanical treatments, biological treatments, and the judicious use of herbicide applications to control undesirable exotic or invasive species. Before any of these tools are utilized, careful consideration is given to potential impacts. Federal land management agencies are required to analyze any fuel management technique and its impact to air quality, water quality, public safety, firefighter safety, threatened and endangered species, and other environmental concerns.
Assistance to communities is done through the rural fire assistance program and through mitigation/prevention, education, and outreach. Fire prevention and education address reduction in wildland fire threats by taking actions before a fire starts. The BLM consults with local residents to help reduce the number of human-caused fires and implement fire prevention and education programs.
Coordination is key to meeting this challenge in Montana and the Dakotas where increasing development in the wildland urban interface and extreme fire conditions are occurring. What can you do? Protect your home. Create a fire survivable house. Reduce your home's fire danger by taking responsibility today--find out how we can work together by visiting the sites below.