Helena, MT -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) toll-free registration line for those affected by Montana's recent wildfires has changed hours and is now open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday at 1-800-745-0243 (TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired).
Federal and state officials encourage anyone in Montana's 48 declared counties and six Indian reservations to call and register for possible disaster assistance if they suffered property loss or damage, or economic injury as a result of the state's recent wildfires.
"People who lost work or income because of the fires or forest closures, such as guides, outfitters, loggers, ranchers, and farmers, and others whose businesses were hurt when the fires swept through the state, should call now to register for help," said Federal Coordinating Officer Carlos Mitchell. "We can't help anyone unless they call to register."
"The recent addition of another 20 counties and six Indian reservations to the presidential declaration opens up disaster assistance to more people who experienced serious economic injury from the fires," said State Coordinating Officer Jim Greene. "Although disaster assistance programs are not designed to make people whole, there are a number of programs designed specifically to help these individuals and businesses get back on their feet."
Those impacted directly by the fires or indirectly through loss of business, employment or self-employment due to land closures, reductions in tourist dollars, agricultural losses and other related losses, may be eligible for one or more disaster assistance programs which include:
- Low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and business owners for property loss or damage.
- Business owners can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
- Mortgage and rental assistance is available to those who face foreclosure or eviction as a result of the wildfires or land closures.
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is there for those who lost work because of the fires or forest closures. Call (406) 444-2545 to apply.
- Individual and family grants may be made to meet disaster-related serious needs or necessary expenses not covered by other assistance programs or insurance. For example, a grant may cover medical expenses incurred as a result of the disaster but not covered by insurance.
- Crisis counseling is available to help individuals and families adjust to the stress and disruption to their lives caused by the impacts from the wildfires.
- Agricultural assistance through emergency loans may be available to farmers operating and managing farms or ranches through the Farm Service Agency. Cost-sharing grants also are available for emergency conservation measures.
Declared areas include the counties of Beaverhead, Big Horn, Blaine, Broadwater, Carbon, Carter, Cascade, Chouteau, Custer, Deer Lodge, Fallon, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Garfield, Glacier, Golden Valley, Granite, Hill, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis & Clark, Liberty, Lincoln, Madison, Meagher, Mineral, Missoula, Musselshell, Park, Petroleum, Phillips, Pondera, Powder River, Powell, Prairie, Ravalli, Rosebud, Sanders, Silver Bow, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Teton, Toole, Treasure, Wheatland, Yellowstone and the Blackfeet, Crow, Flathead, Fort Belknap, Northern Cheyenne and Rocky Boy Indian reservations.