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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Firefighting Has Cost Montana $54 Million This Year

Montana Wildfire News

Fifty-one homes in Montana have been destroyed this fire season and nearly 900,000 acres of land in the state has been charred by wildfires.

Fire officials have lowered the fire preparedness level in the state. Montana is at preparedness level two, meaning fire officials are still seeing high to extreme fire danger but can manage without asking for help from other areas of the country. That’s according to a Wednesday readout from fire managers with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation prepared for Gov. Greg Gianforte.

The National Interagency Fire Center remains at national preparedness level 5, the highest level. That means a majority of firefighting resources are being tapped due to high fire activity throughout the country.

The state estimates it’s spent $54 million of its Fire Suppression Fund to manage fires this year.

The top priority for Montana fire officials is the Trail Creek Fire burning 51,800 acres about 20 miles west of Wisdom. That fire is 29 percent contained.

Most of southern Montana is forecast to stay above normal fire potential for this month, according to a NIFC seasonal fire assessment, dated September 10. The state is expected to return to normal fire potential by October.

Freddy Monares was a reporter and Morning Edition host at Montana Public Radio.
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