NewsWildfire Watch


Protecting your property from wildfires: Mitigation offered to homeowners

Posted at 10:35 AM, Jun 28, 2024

BOZEMAN — Wildfire season is nearly here in Gallatin County, and if you're concerned about the safety of your house this year, well don't worry. Gallatin County Fuels Crew has got you covered.

Wildfire Mitigation

“While Bridger Foothills was a horrible experience for our community, it was also a learning opportunity, which heightened that interest right?" says Patrick Lonergan, the Chief of Emergency Management & Fire for Gallatin County. "If something happened in your backyard, it kind of highlights what's my risk at my property?”

The Bridger Foothills fire happened almost 4 years ago, in September of 2020. It covered more than 7,000 acres and burned almost thirty homes and many other buildings. Although this incident was devastating, it got Gallatin County Emergency Management thinking.

“About 2 years ago we started a wildfire mitigation program, which has grown over the last couple of years,” says Patrick.

This sparked the creation of the Gallatin County Fuels Crew and the home ignition zone work they’ve been doing.

“These crews are going out working from 200ft of the homes. And helping to reduce and eliminate the hazardous fuels in those areas, to help reduce the likelihood of ignition from wildfire in the area."

Lonergan says the crew this year is 3 firefighter volunteers. One from Bridger Canyon, and the other two from Hyalite Fire Department. All three are Montana State University students. This crew started their work a few weeks ago, and have been tackling over 3 properties a week.

“So, they’re going out, and depending on the project, it might be climbing up trees, thinning out stands of trees so they’re not as dense. It could be pulling flammable materials away from the house. A variety of things, all aimed towards reducing how easy it is for ignition to start” says Patrick.

And if you’re interested in this work, and were wondering how much this wildfire mitigation would cost?

“Individuals that happen to be in our defined project areas, we can provide support for home ignition zone work at no cost to the homeowner,” Patrick says.

“If you're along the Gallatin front in the South Side of the valley here; you're kind of up towards Bozeman pass; you're the west side of the Bridgers; or you're out in Clarkston. You likely are in one of our project areas”.

But this home ignition zone work is just one of their programs. If you’re curious if you’re eligible for work on your property OR how susceptible your property is to wildfire risk, reach out to emergency management by going to and clicking on the wildfire mitigation link.