Emergency funds granted for Lodgepole Complex Fires - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Emergency funds granted for Lodgepole Complex Fires

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Courtesy: Inciweb Courtesy: Inciweb

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted the state's request for emergency funds to aid Montana during a dangerous fire season. In total, Montana fires have burned nearly 360,000 acres of land, with historic drought conditions in eastern Montana fueling growth.

Governor Steve Bullock first requested assistance on July 23 but was ultimately denied by the FEMA Region VIII Regional Administrator. Following this information, US Senator Jon Tester requested an explanation on July 25 for administrator Brock Long's decision and made multiple calls as well.

"The Lodgepole Complex Fire has destroyed over a dozen homes and hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Montana," Tester said. "FEMA needs to step up right now and provide critical resources to the region as these fires ravage our communities." 

On the other side of the aisle, Congressman Greg Gianforte and US Senator Steve Daines joined the State's battle for aid, also writing a letter to Long on July 27.

In their letter, they asked for Long to accept Bullock's appeal after they explained the urgency and need for aid.

"Across Montana’s drought-stricken eastern range, families are evacuating homes, business owners are watching their livelihoods go up in flames, and firefighters are putting their lives on the line to contain the blaze," they wrote. 

The grant declaration will cover 75 percent of the firefighting and mitigation costs incurred by the state of Montana. These funds will provide for the Lodgepole Complex Fires, a grouping of four fires that have burned 270,200 acres since it was first discovered on July 19. Its cause is unknown.  Along with the Lodgepole Complex Fire, the Sunrise Fire has demanded national attention, pulling in crews from across the country. Now under stage 3 evacuations, over 3,700 acres have been burned.

Following the announcement of the grant, Daines and Gianforte said, “We are glad to see FEMA urgently and quickly prioritize our request to provide the necessary relief for Montanans."

Bullock and Tester addressed the announcement as well, both focusing on the men and woman battling on the front lines.

"While I am disappointed that it took so long for FEMA to step up to the plate," Tester said, "this is a step in the right direction for what's sure to be a very busy fire season. I am grateful for the firefighters and first responders who are on the fire line battling this blaze." 

Bullock said, "These brave men and women are putting their lives on the line to help ensure the safety of Montanans, their property, and our communities and they deserve every resource available to help them.”

On July 23 Bullock issued an Executive Order declaring a fire emergency in Montana.


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