Firefighting costs top $324 million, FEMA grants fund five fires - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Firefighting costs top $324 million, FEMA grants fund five fires

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BOZEMAN -

The bill keeps growing for Montana's extreme fire season, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency will now help cover costs.

FEMA this weekend granted funds for five major fires in Montana; specifically 75% of the total fire cost will be reimbursed. 

On Monday, the Northern Rockies Coordination Center totaled the current firefighting costs at $324,463,094-- $57.3 million of which, has been paid for by the state.

The state firefighting budget for the 2017 was $32.5 million, which is less than the individual costs of the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley (currently at $37 million) and the Lolo Peak Complex ($42 million).

Here are the five fires FEMA announced funding for with the current size and cost of each as of Monday evening: Rice Ridge Fire, Missoula/Powell counties, $37.4 million/135,355 acres; Alice Creek Fire, Lewis and Clark Co., $9.3 million/27,469 acres; Highway 200 Complex, Sanders Co., $3.8 million/22,990 acres; West Fork Fire, Lincoln Co., $2.7 million/13,372 acres; Moose Peak Fire, Sanders/Lincoln counties, $390,000/8,209 acres.

The Lolo Creek Complex and Lodgepole Complex received the same type of grant earlier this summer.

The FEMA funding comes in the form of a Fire Management Assistance Grant, or 'FMAGs' that provide the 75% cost share for things like tools, equipment, field camps, mobilization and demobilization, etc.

They do not cover individual or business loses, or infrastructure damage from fire.

Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Governor Steve Bullock urged FEMA to help Montana, and the grants were announced over the weekend.

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