Experts are saying it will happen: Big Sky will face fire, and not just on the outskirts of the community. Big Sky ranks at 97% higher risk for wildland fire than anywhere else in the nation and 84% higher than anywhere else in the state, according to a recent study created in partnership with Headwater Economics and the U.S.
Big Sky Fire Department
Minutes – even seconds – matter in the quest to save a life. Sharing resources with partners is essential in small communities like Big Sky, explained Big Sky Fire Department (BSFD) Chief Greg Megaard.
Big Sky Fire Department (BSFD) Deputy Fire Chief Dustin Tetrault said with a laugh that Alicia Fischer, BSFD’s administrative officer, often describes his two daughters as “feral”. Ages five and six, he calls them imaginative, wild and free. “They’re little strong independent women already,” he said.
Six hundred fifty acres of United States Forest Service and Fish, Wildlife and Parks land were ablaze this past week near Big Sky. The tally of scorched acres climbed significantly after an aircraft was able to gps the fire. No private land or structures were damaged.
Big Sky Fire Department (BSFD) had boots on the ground over the weekend helping battle the zero percent contained, now over 7,000 acre blaze in the Bridgers.
BSFD Chief Greg Megaard, who was born and raised in the Gallatin Valley, said he does not remember ever seeing the Bridger mountains on fire like they were this last weekend.
Lane Wintermute, senior associate with Emergency Services Consulting International guided the Big Sky Fire District (BSFD) board through the Long Range Master Plan Update on Sept. 25. The study assesses and projects up to 2025.
“There’s been a lot of change in this community,” he said.
When the last Big Sky Fire Department Master Plan was completed at the end of 2015, consultants from Emergency Services Consulting, International looked at the next decade, predicting steep growth for Big Sky.
For Big Sky Fire Department firefighters, perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the current remodel of Station 1 in the West Fork is the addition of bigger dorm rooms—an expansion upon the current lodging quarters, which were designed as closets and fit little more than a twin bed and a small locker.
As his crew sprayed, scrubbed and buffed their new Pierce custom velocity chassis pumper engine, Big Sky Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Greg Megaard stood nearby taking it all in.
In late 2015, the Big Sky Fire Department adopted an Emergency Services Master Plan—a 141-page guide meant to help the department improve safety and the work of responders. In the plan, it was estimated that by the end of 2020, the BSFD would see upwards of 762 calls per year.