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Wildland Firefighter Foundation to hold banquet April 13

| March 29, 2024 12:00 AM

The public is invited to the fourth annual Flathead Wildland Firefighters Banquet to help support the many federal, state, local, contract and volunteer firefighters that train and work to protect public and private lands.

The event will be Saturday, April 13 at the Flathead County Fairgrounds Trade Center Building in Kalispell, 4:30 to 9 p.m. and is organized by local wildland firefighters.    

The event benefits the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. The Foundation’s main focus is to provide critical and immediate assistance to the families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and to assist injured firefighters and their families.

 The Foundation partners with private and interagency organizations to provide onsite crisis support, education about wildland fires, and promote excellence and safety in firefighting. The nonprofit organization is almost solely supported by the fundraising efforts of grassroots groups of wildland firefighters. 

 The Foundation began in 1994 as a group of volunteers after the Snow King tragedy and officially formed in 1999. It maintains an office and the Wildland Firefighters National Monument at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho.  

There is an online memorial to fallen firefighters and each year a family fire weekend is hosted to honor those who have died, support the injured and uphold each other in grief and in healing.  

Wildland firefighters are from rural communities and towns across the United States and represent the diversity of the land they protect. Many are long-time career professionals, some much newer to the job. They are ordinary people doing an extraordinary job. There are more than 500 individuals that fight and support wildland firefighting efforts in the Flathead Valley and local communities. 

In recent years the Foundation has supported several local wildland firefighters and their families with expenses related to medical services, therapy, counseling, travel, medical equipment and supplies, day-to-day basic expenses, and more. The organization is recognized for the immediate financial and crisis assistance provided. 

The community banquet is sponsored by Flathead Ridge Ranch, and will include a barbecue dinner of brisket by 406 BBQ of Columbia Falls and a no-host bar courtesy of 101 Central of Whitefish. Banquet tickets are $50 each and sponsor tables are available. 

The event includes a special raffle drawing for a 2023 CFMOTO utility vehicle.  Other raffle and auction items include more than 30 firearms (a Shield Arms rifle and a Proof Research rifle), guided elk hunt for two, $4,000 travel gift certificate, Teshia Art, local business and restaurant gift certificates, jewelry, packs and more. 

Banquet tickets and more information are available at www.flatheadwff.org or by sending a direct message on Facebook or Instagram to Flathead Wildland Firefighter Foundation @FlatheadWFF.   For information about the Wildland Firefighter Foundation visit www.wffoundation.org.