Big Sky Farmers Market to promote wildfire safety

By Leonora Willet EDITORIAL INTERN

BIG SKY – The Big Sky Farmers Market will host a forest fire safety themed market on June 22 to engage with locals and visitors to raise awareness about wildfires and public safety information.

The Big Sky Fire Department and the Rotary Club of Big Sky worked in partnership with downtown to plan the special market and provide various activities and information signs. The market will include many family-friendly activities, such as a scavenger hunt for firewood, an ember toss, and fire truck tours. Visitors will also learn how to properly build and extinguish a campfire at the downtown firepit.

Crystal Beckman, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator for BSFD, emphasized the importance of wildfire preparedness and awareness as fire season approaches.

“We really hear about community organizations, [the] Room, tourist tax and the like in the area they fear for the wildfires…” she said. Beckman added that community members want to know what the wildfire evacuation plan is and where they need to go.

Last year, with fires near Big Sky, community members were unsure of evacuation procedures and plans, according to Beckman.

“Firefighters lead [the effort] to bring together a community coordination group to become more fire-ready in Big Sky and prepare to be more resilient,” Beckman said.

The Fire Adapted Big Sky group was recently founded after Big Sky was chosen to be part of the National Community Wildfire Planning Assistance Program.

Kelsey Rossier, chair of local outreach at the Rotary Club of Big Sky, said this market is an important part of preparing the Big Sky community for wildfires.

“We really wanted to partner with the fire department to bring more awareness to our community about wildfire safety,” she said. “We felt a lot of people weren’t quite sure what to do when a wildfire broke out in town.”

Community members can prepare for fire season by signing up for Gallatin County Emergency Notifications, removing extra tree limbs surrounding homes, and clearing dead vegetation under bridges, among many other preventive actions.

Other community partners for the event include Big Sky Sustainability Network Organization, Downtown, Gallatin River Task Force, Big Sky Homeowners Association, Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, the Big Sky community organization and the Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance.

James V. Payne