Montana is known for its beautiful landscapes and vast natural beauty. However, living in Montana also means being aware of the risk of wildfires. Wildfires can happen anywhere in Montana, and it's essential to understand the risks before purchasing a home in the area. In this article, we will discuss the things you need to know before buying a home in Montana.
Understand the Risk:
Montana is one of the states that are prone to wildfires. Dry and windy conditions can easily cause a fire to start and spread quickly. Before buying a home in Montana, it's crucial to understand the wildfire risk in the area. You can do this by checking the local wildfire risk maps, which provide information on the frequency and severity of wildfires in the area. However, that guarantees nothing, realize that you will almost certainly need insurance and plan on taking extra precautions against fire hazards.
Consider the Location:
When buying a home in Montana, it's essential to consider the location carefully. Areas that are close to forests, grasslands, or other wildlands are more prone to wildfires. It's important to note that even homes that are not directly adjacent to these areas can still be at risk. Embers from a fire can travel long distances and ignite homes that are miles away. Montana utilizes a tree-cutting plan in most suburbs to keep homes away from the flame. If you live in a suburb, it’ll be on you to see if your neighbors also adhere to their fire-cutting protocol. Why? It isn’t actually on you, but if they are prone to a wildfire, it would create a bigger disaster than the natural looming one.
Review the Home's Defensibility:
When considering a home in Montana, you should also review the defensibility of the property. Defensible space refers to the area surrounding a home that is cleared of flammable materials such as dry grass and dead vegetation. This space can act as a buffer between the home and any approaching wildfire, reducing the risk of damage. It's essential to check if the property has defensible space and if it is regularly maintained. If it doesn’t plan on hiring a tree cutter exactly for this reason.
It's essential to check if your home insurance policy covers wildfire damage. Some insurance policies may exclude wildfire damage, while others may provide limited coverage. You may need to purchase additional insurance coverage to protect your home and property from wildfire damage.
Plan for Evacuation:
In the event of a wildfire, it's crucial to have an evacuation plan in place. You should have a plan for how to evacuate the home, where to go, and what to bring with you. It's also essential to stay informed about the status of the fire and any evacuation orders issued by local authorities. Unless your home is hard to get to, the sheriff's department will show up and give you an evacuation notice ahead of impending doom, trust us we’ve been there, but sometimes it may not be possible for them to get to you. Have an evacuation plan ready.
Work with a Local Real Estate Agent:
A local real estate agent who is familiar with the area can provide valuable insights into the wildfire risk in the area. They can also help you find homes that are located in low-risk areas and have proper defensible space. They can also advise you as to insurance and other risks you will need to prepare for.
Wildfires are a part of life in Montana, and it's essential to be aware of the risks before buying a home in the area. By understanding the wildfire risk in the area, considering the location, reviewing the home's defensibility, checking insurance coverage, planning for evacuation, and working with a local real estate agent, you can make an informed decision about purchasing a home in Montana.