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Missoula firefighters prepare for a hot summer

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MISSOULA, Mont. - With drought conditions and more hot weather on the way, Missoula firefighters are gearing up for fire season.

2016 was the year wildland fires tore through Western Montana, burning more than 25,000 acres of land. Montana firefighters, plus crews from surrounding states, put themselves on the front line to battle the blaze. In order to keep up with the fires, though, captain Chad Kidd says firefighters train year round.

"We do a standards test which is firefighters' survivability and safety," says Kidd.

That training includes a firefighter completing a three-mile pack test, carrying 45 pounds and completing the course in 45 minutes.

Kidd says that something else the department does to prep is make sure all their trucks are ready to go by having them greenlighted by mechanics.

But all the hard work preparing for the upcoming fire season would be for nothing, Kidd says, if it weren't for the dedication shown by firefighters around the country.

"We do see quite a bit of grass fires and if anything significant breaks out, we will be a player in that," Kidd says. "With our neighbors the rural fire, state, the feds, we will all come together to suppress whatever it is, and we all help each other out."

Montana's fire season is right around the corner, but Kidd says with refreshment courses complete, crews are ready to hit the ground running this summer to protect Big Sky Country.

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