Montana Wildfire Resources Limited - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Montana Wildfire Resources Limited

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PARADISE VALLEY -

On Tuesday, the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group raised the national preparedness level to the highest level possible, a five.

Preparedness levels are based on fire activity, predicted weather, burning conditions and resource availability.

Right now, 48 uncontained large wildfires are burning across the country, eight of those fires burning in Montana.

"We would like to get some more aircraft and more helicopters to support our firefighters on the ground," said John Thompson, Deputy Incident Commander. "We're clearly lacking hand crews to put on the ground and we would like to see more type one resources due to the terrain we have here. Type one resources are generally the most experienced and the most well trained."

National MAC divides the country into 11 geographical areas to help prioritize resources.
Resources are then ordered based on how many fires are burning in the area, the risks to lives and property and the current supply of crews.

Thompson said his command center is in contact with the Northern Rockies Interagency Coordination center daily to request assistance.

"We're in contact daily with those folks to convey our needs, our priorities and our desires of resources we would like," said Thompson.

Thompson said the competition for more man power and equipment is extremely tight this year, but he said life and property are always number one priority.

"It doesn't help that we're competing against incidents like they have in Idaho where they evacuate 2200 people in a day," said Thompson. "Life and property are always our priorities and if lives are in front of a fire, we're going to put the resources there."

A public meeting will be held at Montana Weatherization Training Center in Bozeman on Tuesday August 20 at 7:30 p.m.

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