EPA, Forest Service Want Permanent Firefighters Near Libby
LIBBY, Mont. (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Forest Service want to station 10 firefighters near Libby this summer so crews are immediately available to fight any fire that night burn in or near a former vermiculite mine contaminated with asbestos.
However, Forest Service officials say they're having difficulty finding any firefighters willing to take the job due to the risk of exposure to asbestos, which can cause lung cancer.
Christina Progress, who is the remedial project manager for the cleanup at the former W.R. Grace vermiculite mine site, tells The Western News a test burn showed that a fire in that area would expose firefighters to asbestos.
It also could spread asbestos contamination to areas in and around Libby that weren't previously contaminated.