Wildfires in Sanders, Lincoln counties receive FEMA disaster dollars

The Highway 200 Complex fires have burned more than 24,000 acres near Plains and Thompson Falls. (inciweb)

Two additional western Montana wildfires were approved Monday for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., announced that FEMA released federal funds to help fight the Highway 200 Complex fires in Sanders County and the Moose Peak fire in Sanders and Lincoln counties.

“These resources will bring some much-needed relief as wildfires continue to rage across the state,” said Tester. “We will keep on the federal government to ensure it’s doing its part as families, small businesses, and farmers and ranchers are impacted by a hot, dry fire season.”

The resources come in the form of a Fire Management Assistance Grant and make FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs.

Fire Management Assistance Grants can assist with expenses for field camps, equipment, mobilization and demobilization activities, tools, materials and supplies.

These grants do not provide assistance to individual home or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.

In a floor speech last week, Tester announced he will be looking to secure additional firefighting resources in the upcoming Hurricane Harvey and Irma recovery legislation.

Tester has also launched an online portal where Montanans who are impacted by fire and drought can contact his office and receive help.

On Friday, Tester announced that 30 Montana farmers and ranchers who lost agriculture land in wildfires would be receiving $2.5 million to help rebuild their operations.