Fire forum Nov. 14

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A community forum about establishing Whitefish and other Flathead towns as fire-adapted communities will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 6:30 p.m. at Whitefish City Hall.

The forum will feature several panelists discussing the threat of wildfire to our communities and how to protect homes and businesses. Brief presentations will be followed by open discussion with the audience. Panelists include: Joe Page, Whitefish Fire Chief; Bambi Goodman, Whitefish Area Fire Safe Council; Jeff Mow, Superintendent of Glacier National Park; Rick Trembath, Retired Bigfork Fire Chief and fire historian; Ed Lieser, fire behavior specialist; Richard Hildner, Whitefish Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Whitefish Climate Action Plan Committee.

Glacier National Park has experienced major fires, including the loss of structures, during three of the last four years. And wildfire no longer is restricted to rural, forested areas. Wildfire has razed thousands of homes in urban areas across the West over the past year.

Flathead communities have been fortunate to avoid catastrophic wildfire on their doorsteps, but Whitefish Fire Chief Joe Page is concerned that luck may not last. The 2017 Montana Climate Assessment highlighted the likelihood of future summers that are much hotter and drier than in the past, even though annual precipitation might be higher. They have referred to this type of weather pattern as “flash drought,” which suggests a future of much more extreme fire danger in the Flathead.

For further information please contact Karin Hilding at 406-863-2450 or khilding@cityofwhitefish.org. The forum is sponsored by the city of Whitefish, Climate Smart Glacier Country and Firesafe Flathead.

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