Governor Steve Bullock today issued an executive order declaring a state of energy emergency to meet demand for aviation fuel and other fire suppression resources in order to fight fires.
Governor Bullock also secured a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from FEMA to help fight Helena’s North Hills Fire.
“I join all Montanans in thanking the firefighters who are working around the clock to keep lives and property safe as we face some challenging fires in our state,” said Governor Bullock. “I’m also grateful to FEMA for acting quickly and providing us with assistance, and I’m pleased that local, state and federal agencies are coordinating closely to mitigate risk and put out fires.”
With several new fires starting over the last weekend of July, conditions have caused an increased demand for driver’s hours transporting aviation fuel and other fire suppression resources, which necessitates increased driver hours to meet the demand. The temporary suspension of “hours of service” regulations will facilitate and expedite the distribution of energy products.
The FMAG makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs. Additionally, each FMAG is eligible for over $450,000 in federal mitigation funding.
The North Hills Fire, at 2,600 acres, spread yesterday following red flag weather including strong winds and heavy fuel loads. There are approximately 140 personnel on the incident including 10 engines, 2 helicopters, and 3 type II initial attack crews. Additional resources have been ordered, include engines, crews and various aircrafts.