The Montana Farm Bureau is urging all Montanans and those visiting the Treasure State to do their part to prevent wildfires during this extremely dry summer. Most areas are in the midst of a drought and seeing the Fire Danger signs as “Very High.”
It’s essential that everybody follows the following recommendations:
• Never park hot machinery on or near dry grass; that includes cars, ATVs, campers and more.
• Ensure trailer/implement chains do not drag when hauling.
• Post signs and enforce “no smoking” in barns, near machinery, near fuel tanks, and near other flammable materials.
• Cut vegetation between buildings and maintain a cleared area of at least 30 feet.
• Always comply with state and local regulations regarding open burning; exercise good judgement.
• Ensure fire extinguishers are charged and other equipment (rakes, shovels, water hoses, discs, plows, etc.) are readily available. Make sure every piece of farm equipment (i.e. tractors, swathers, combines) have a working fire extinguisher on board.
• Do not store firewood next to buildings, especially log homes.
“We’re looking at a very hot, dry summer so everyone needs to do their part of make sure our forests and communities don’t go up in flames,” noted Austin Grazier, director, Montana Ag Safety Program. “It’s key to make sure your fire suppression tools, such as firefighting rigs and fire extinguishers, are in good working order and ready to go. Make sure to get your fire extinguisher recharged annually. You will have to look up a certified fire equipment dealer in your area to recharge your extinguisher. This usually costs between $15-$25, but well worth the cost.”
When using a fire extinguisher remember P.A.S.S.:
• P – PULL the pin;
• A – AIM the nozzle at the base of the fire;
• S – SQUEEZE the handle;
• S – SWEEP the nozzle side to side across the base of the fire.
“Being aware of potential fire hazards is half the battle in ensuring your home, your community and the state stay as fire-free as possible,” noted Grazier, “Ensuring that your employees on the farm and ranch are properly trained how to suppress a fire will help reduce costly accidents, injuries, and help Montana’s agriculture industry stay safe.”