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FEMA Agrees to Work with Daines to Fight Montana Wildfires

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Senator Steve Daines addresses FEMA during during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting. Senator Steve Daines addresses FEMA during during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

U.S. SENATE – Today during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agreed to work with U.S. Senator Steve Daines to improve the agency’s effectiveness in assisting Montana fight wildfires.

Daines highlighted the unique challenges Montana faces while applying for Fire Management Assistance Grants, and the need for FEMA to provide clear eligibility guidance to Montana’s rural communities. Last year, following Senator Daines’ call for additional fire management assistance, FEMA provided grants to reimburse the state with emergency funds.

“Wildfires from last wildfire season devastated Montana communities and cost our state millions,” said Daines. “FEMA must treat wildfires like the natural disasters they are and do more to address the unique challenges faced by Montana.”

Background:

On March 21, 2018, Daines secured forest management and wildfire funding reforms in the omnibus appropriations bill.

On February 8, 2018, Daines at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing outlined his energy infrastructure priorities and called for action on forest management to decrease the risk of wildfires in Montana and reduce bureaucratic hurdles that challenge the security of power lines.

On December 6, 2017, the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) presented Senator Steve Daines with the 2017 Bernard L. Orell Award.

On December 5, 2017, Daines sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting him to declare wildfire in Montana from August 10, 2017 to September 20, 2017 as a major disaster. 

On November 16, 2017, Daines introduced the Protect Collaboration for Healthier Forests Act to accelerate badly needed and locally supported forest management projects that will improve the health of national forests and get loggers back to work. 

On September 27, 2017, Daines testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on his bill to reverse the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. U.S. Forest Service.  

On September 20, 2017, Daines wrote an editorial in the Washington Post highlighting the urgent need for forest management reform as the West faced one of the worst fire seasons in recent history. 

On September 19, 2017, Daines discussed the importance of land managers working together with power providers to protect Montana’s electric grid reliability and reduce the severity and intensity of wildfires.

On September 7, 2017, in a letter to then-Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke, Daines highlighted the need for urgent forest management reforms to reduce the severity and intensity of wildfires to help prevent against another fire season like Montana saw in 2017. 

On September 6, 2017, Daines took to the Senate floor to raise awareness and draw attention to the fires burning in Montana.  

In September 2017, Daines spoke on the phone with FEMA Administrator Brock Long where Administrator Long said he would be giving Montana emergency funding to help address the severe drought and wildfires impacting much of Montana.

On July 27, 2017, Daines sent a letter to Brock Long, Administrator of FEMA, requesting reconsideration of Montana’s request for eligibility for fire management assistance.

On April 27, 2017, Daines introduced the bipartisan Empowering State Forestry to Improve Forest Health Act of 2017, legislation to encourage cross boundary management of forests to protect water resources, enhance wildlife habitat, restore forest health and strengthen local economies. 

On March 3, 2017, Daines introduced legislation to reverse the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. U.S. Forest Service.

On February 8, 2017, Daines pressed again for action to provide relief on vegetation management around electricity rights-of-way.

On December 9, 2016, Daines introduced legislation to reverse the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. U.S. Forest Service.

On September 23, 2016, Daines called on Congress to support Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) in letters to the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders.

On September 13, 2016, Daines introduced the bipartisan Empowering State Forestry to Improve Forest Health Act of 2017, legislation to encourage cross boundary management of forests to protect water resources, enhance wildlife habitat, restore forest health and strengthen local economies.

On June 24, 2016, Daines moved forward forest management reforms to improve the health of Montana’s national forests, create good-paying jobs and provide Montanans with the economic certainty they deserve.

On June 16, 2016, Daines secured many important resources for Montana to fully fund wildfire suppression in the bipartisan FY2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.

On April 29, 2015, Daines pushed the U.S. Forest Service to expedite Secure Rural Schools (SRS) payments to rural Montana counties in a letter to then-Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

On April 15, 2015, Daines voted to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools program for two years.

On February 11, 2015, Daines called on Senate and House leaders to swiftly move forward legislation to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program.

On January 23, 2015, Daines introduced the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which overhauls federal wildfire policy, increases funding for prevention and ensures large forest fires are treated and funded as true natural disasters.

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