Washington, D.C. -- Federal funds were made available on Saturday, August 5 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help Montana battle the uncontrolled Southwestern Zone Two Fire Complex burning in seven Montana counties. The fire is impacting Deer Lodge, Granite, Mineral, Missoula, Powell, Ravalli, and Silver Bow county.
According to the agency, the state's request for federal fire suppression aid was approved Saturday after it was reported the blaze was threatening more than 300 homes and had forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 residents in the vicinity of Hamilton. The fire had burned 60,000 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.