Tester establishes online portal to help Montanans impacted by wildfires, drought

The Burdette fire is burning southeast of Tarkio. (USFS)

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester launched an online portal Monday to assist Montanans who have suffered financial loss related to this summer’s wildfires and drought.

Tester is encouraging Montana farmers and ranchers, business owners, and families who have been impacted by wildfire and drought to contact his office through the portal so he can quickly help guide them towards any financial assistance or additional resources that they are qualified to receive as a result of their loss.

“As fires and drought spread across Montana, I want to make sure that folks have access to the resources they need to recover from significant financial loss,” Tester said. “Businesses and families often don’t realize this assistance is available to them after a natural disaster.

“If you have been impacted by fire or drought, please contact my office as soon as possible so I can get you squared away with the grazing relief, small businesses loan, or recovery funds that are available to folks who suffer financial loss due to natural disasters.”

Tester has secured additional resources for Montana farmers and ranchers facing extreme drought and he requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture prioritize approving applications for producers in extreme drought designated areas in Montana.

Tester has urged Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon to prioritize assisting Montana small businesses that apply for Disaster Loan Assistance because of business downturns due to devastating drought and wildfires.

Tester called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Congress to help first responders across Montana who are fighting wildfires throughout the state.

Last week, Tester secured critical life-saving resources to help fight the Lodgepole Complex Fire in eastern Montana, which at the time was the largest fire in the nation.