The 2013 fire season saw thousands of acres burned and many homes destroyed in western Montana. 

Frenchtown Rural Fire District wants to help property owners prepare for the 2014 fire season with an open house on Saturday, May 10. Firefighter/EMT Taylor Blakely said the department is beginning a project for those in the wildland urban interface.

"We're doing some mapping so we'll know exactly what's out there and so we can help keep people's property safe," Blakely said. "With our open house, we're trying to provide people with opportunities on ways that they can create defensible space around their homes."

Blakely said there will be several state and federal agencies at the open house to provide more information.

"The DNRC is going to be here at  the open house presenting their 'ready-set-go' program. That's where you prepare, then you're ready for evacuation and you have your evacuation plan in place. The Forest Service will be promoting prescribed burning so that we can control hazardous fuels so the wildfires aren't as large when they do come through. Fire Safe Montana will be here on Saturday, as well, showing folks how to create defensible space to give their homes a chance when those wildfires come through."

The open house will be Saturday, May 10 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Frenchtown Fire Station, just off Interstate 90 on Marion Street in Frenchtown.

Missoula Electric Co-op has stepped up with a donation to help better identify homes so that emergency vehicles can locate them more easily.

"With that donation, we have purchased address signs and we can give those away for free while they last," Blakely said. "After we run out of materials, they'll be just seven dollars, and that's great because during an emergency the biggest thing is finding out where we're going. It's not just for wildfires, it's for all emergencies like medical and structure fires."

Frenchtown Rural Firefighter/EMT Taylor Blakely