Local Fire Departments Affected by Wildfires - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Local Fire Departments Affected by Wildfires

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BUTTE -

Currently Butte-Silver Bow County has two firefighting crews of four people working on wildfires in Montana.

While those crews are not working in Butte, it's up to the county fire department to fill their spots.

"It impacts the department because you're down and you're short," said Director of Fire Services Jeff Miller. "We're careful not to send out too many resources. We only send out the resources that we could afford to send out to help other agencies."

Butte-Silver Bow's fire station has a contract with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

In the spring, local firefighters sign rental agreements for the wildfire season.

When a fire occurs, a call is made through the D.N.R.C. to the stations and they are able to choose if they can afford to send local firefighters.

"We just kind of evaluate it on a case by case basis," said Miller. "If things are pretty quiet around here, and we feel we can spare the resources, we obviously want to help out. We send them when we can. If it's too busy around here and feel like we don't want to send anyone out, then we have that option too."

When the local county fire station does send crews out for wildfires, they are reimbursed for the money spent on equipment and personnel.

"Typically we have to put money back into our budget to cover the overtime cost," Miller said. "There is usually some funds left over we try to allocate for wildfire equipment. We try and buy things for wild land firefighting. The local tax payer does not foot the bill for our deployments. It's usually picked up by the federal government."

Depending on the severity of the incident, firefighters from Butte could potentially be sent anywhere in the country, while others stay back and fight fires in the Mining City.

Butte firefighters have been working on one major wildfire so far this year.

They are currently at the Alum Fire in Yellowstone National Park.

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