WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal funds were made available today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help Montana battle an outbreak of uncontrolled wildfires located in Musselshell County.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the state's request for federal fire suppression aid was approved early this morning immediately after it was reported that the Fishel Creek Fire Complex, consisting of five fires, posed a threat to about 200 homes in the town of Musselshell. The fires had burned 14,000 acres of land at the time of the request.
Under the authorization, FEMA will pay 70 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs that are above $388,150. The figure, called a floor cost, is derived through a formula based on the state's five-year annual average cost for fighting fires.
Federal fire suppression aid is provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires when they threaten to cause a major disaster.
Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities.