This season alone, wildfires destroyed more than 20 homes in southwest Montana.
According to non-partisan research group Headwaters Economics, the cost of protecting the average home from a wildfire is around $8,000.
Add the fact that nearly 30% of firefighting costs are attributed to protecting homes on the edge of the forest and you're looking at nearly $30 million a year to protect homes.
"Right now, we know that there's a problem and we know it's going to get bigger and so, how do we start to address it?" asks Headwaters Economics Policy Director Chris Mehl.
Mehl told us several factors will significantly drive up costs within the next couple of decades.
As it stands now, only 16% of land in high fire danger areas is developed.
If development in those areas continues costs could rise to $40 million by 2025. If you factor in the possibility of climate change- a one degree temperature increase, we're looking at $84 million to protect homes in Montana.
"There's enormous growth in and around the forest so, that means more people are at risk and when you have especially warm and dry years like we've had this year in Montana, it also means there are more fires both larger and more intense which means more costs," says Mehl.
We talked to the state forester. He told us most of the efforts to lower costs are voluntary, incentive based programs- from public education and outreach to cost share assistance.
Yet, he says they're getting mixed results.
"Most communities in Montana are not fire adapt yet, and they are not prepared for wildfires in general but in particular the types of fire behavior that we have seen on certain days this summer," says DNRC State Forester Bob Harrington.
He told us fire preparedness needs to start before development and should be community wide.
"It's not sufficient for individual homes to be treated and to fire wise. We have to have entire communities," explains Harrington.
Equally important are the fuels surrounding their land, he says.
He says the issue isn't going away. That's why it's important those who live in high fire danger areas take responsibility, not only for themselves but also for their neighbors.