The 2017 Western Montana Fair is partnering with the Wildland Firefighter Foundation to raise money for families of wildland firefighters.
The fair begins Tuesday, Aug. 8, running through the following Sunday.
This year, the Demolition Derby will be expanded to a two-day event dubbed Put Out the Peaks Motor Rally, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
The foundation provides financial support for injured firefighters and to families of injured and deceased firefighters. Funds can help pay for memorial and funeral costs, travel costs for family members, as well as other financial needs.
In announcing the effort, fairgrounds director Emily Bentley said firefighters risk their lives to ensure the Missoula community can continue traditions like the annual fair.
“We want the brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to keep our community safe to know how grateful we are,” Bentley said in the news release.
The Wildland Firefighter Foundation also provides emotional support, said development director Jennifer Zaso.
Zaso said she is very familiar with the foundation’s services, as she lost a fiance to a wildland fire last year.
She said the most important thing the public can do to help is be aware of wildland fires and take preventative measures, especially as fire seasons grow more and more volatile. By mid-July, this year’s fires had burned more than twice the number of acres that were burned by the same time last year.
“When you see smoke and these fires surrounding you, there are thousands of firefighters out there risking their lives to try to hold that fire where it is every single day,” Zaso said.
Events like Put Out the Peaks are good ways for the community to support wildland firefighters and their families, she said.
Put Out the Peaks Motor Rally will feature performances with monster trucks, freestyle motocross and tough trucks. Local firefighters will also be at the event to collect additional donations.
Check out the Facebook page for more information about this event. For more information about the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, check out their website.