South East Montana Firefighters Look for Help From Rain
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Crews took advantage of mild weather and calmer fire activity on Thursday to make headway on five large southeastern Montana blazes.
Officials are now managing the fires as one 470-square-mile wildfire complex so they can quickly shuttle resources between them.
The Department of Natural Resource and Conservation estimates that the fires have so far cost $5.2 million, of which $2.7 million is expected to come out of state coffers after anticipated federal reimbursements.
About $30 million in state money has been set aside for such emergencies this year.
The state has so far been hit with 358 fires covering almost 700 square miles, with more than 80 percent human caused.
Nearly 1,700 firefighters are in Montana fighting the blazes, which so far have destroyed 82 homes and 161 other buildings.