Montana Public Radio

Mild Fire Seasons Leave Montana's Fire Fund Flush

Sep 17, 2019

Montana’s firefighting fund is in good shape moving into the end of the year, according to the state budget director.

Tom Livers, director of the Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning told the Legislative Finance Committee Tuesday that this and last years’ mild fire seasons have swelled the state’s firefighting savings account.

"We’ve got probably two and a half times the typical fire year, is in the reserve currently. Or another way of looking at it, we’ve got about enough to cover a catastrophic year like we saw in 2017."

More than a million acres burned in the summer of 2017, costing the state $64 million. That contributed to the calling of a special legislative session that winter to fix the state’s broken budget.

According to a Legislative Finance Division report at the end of August, less than 150,000 acres have burned in 2018 and 2019 combined.