Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Big Sky Fire Department receives national grant to reduce wildfire risk along Big Sky’s only western evacuation route
Moonlight Basin serves as key partner and will provide critical funds to make project a reality
Big Sky, Mont. – Big Sky Fire Department has been awarded a $75,000 competitive grant from Coalitions and Collaboratives Inc., a national nonprofit that offers grants through its Action, Implementation and Mitigation Program. The purpose of this grant is to accelerate fire adaptation concepts and reduce the risk from wildfire by increasing capacity and on-the-ground work.
This grant will fund “The Jack Creek Evacuation Road Project”, which will create an effective shaded fuel break along Jack Creek Road to increase safety. Jack Creek Road is the only road from Big Sky heading west and out of the Madison Mountain Range into the valley near Ennis, Montana. “Wildfire preparedness, especially related to firefighter and public safety is a year-round job and the more we can do now the better we will be when the wildfire occurs,” said Greg Megaard, Chief, Big Sky Fire Department.
Moonlight Basin is providing $100,000 match for this project, and another $144,000 for wildfire risk reduction on the South Side Road adjacent to and south of Jack Creek Road. In addition to the large commitment in 2022, Moonlight Basin will provide an additional $200,000 toward wildfire mitigation in the area to be deployed in 2023 and beyond.
“As drought persists, it is incumbent that we invest in proactive wildfire risk reduction efforts that respect the land, enhance forest health, and keep people safe,” said Kevin Germain, Vice President of Moonlight Basin. “The Big Sky Fire Department should be applauded for its extensive proactive planning to prevent wildfires and keep Southwest Montana safe. We are proud to join with the Big Sky Fire Department on this project.”
The Big Sky Fire Department provided letters of support from the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Madison Ranger District, and Madison County Office of Emergency Management to aid their Jack Creek Evacuation Road grant application.
“A completed shaded fuel break along this road provides a larger safety margin for people evacuating as well as fire personnel responding to the incident as this is the main artery in and out of Big Sky from the west,” said Dale Olson, District Ranger for the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and Madison Ranger District.
“The Jack Creek Evacuation Road Project is a step in the right direction to provide safe egress in the event of a human or natural caused disaster,” said Joseph Brummell, the Madison County Director of Disaster and Emergency Services.
Since inception in 2018, Coalitions and Collaboratives Inc. (COCO) has supported over 90 organizations. COCO hopes to increase community resilience, restore fire-adapted ecosystems and create safer conditions for residents and firefighters. This funding opportunity is open to organizations working to advance wildfire risk reduction. More information can be found here: https://co-co.org/get-involved/grants/aim-grant/
Greg Megaard, Big Sky Fire Department
Rich Chandler, Moonlight Basin