Fighting for fire funds from Capital Hill - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Fighting for fire funds from Capital Hill

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Montana's delegation is taking the fight for federal aide to help with these wildfires to Capitol Hill. Wednesday morning just after the house voted to approve nearly 8 Billion dollars in relief funds to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, Senator Jon Tester and Representative Greg Gianforte took to their respective floors and begged Congress to take action on Montana's behalf.

Gianforte said it is imperative to help those effected by the hurricanes, but it's also essential to help Montana.  He added this wildfire season could've been prevented if Congress had taken a closer look at the rules surrounding forestry management.

"It took 8 years to get a forest management project approved and then it was overturned in a local court because they said there was no imminent danger of fire and it wasn't good enough for the lynx.  That whole forest is burned now there is no habitat for lynx.  That's not good for our environment and it certainly isn't good for the local economy because we burned everything instead of having our lumber go to the mills and creating a healthier forest," said Giantforte.

So far the only money Montana has received from the Federal Government came in the way of some help from FEMA. One grant to help with the Lodgepole complex fire, along with a grant Senator Tester secured just last week in the form of over 3 million dollars to be used statewide.

U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that the City of Bozeman Fire Department was awarded $53,346 for personal protective safety equipment to help combat wildfires and Miles City was awarded $294,054 for vehicle acquisition.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an important component of the larger, coordinated effort to strengthen the nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards.

“Firefighters are fighting devastating fires across much of Montana and every extra dollars helps,” Daines stated. “I’m thrilled to be announcing additional funding to improve firefighters ability to serve Montanans.”

The purpose of the AFG Program is to award grants directly to fire departments, non-affiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations, and state fire training academies to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel. Using a competitive process that is overseen by fire service subject matter experts, grants are awarded to applicants whose requests best address the priorities of the AFG Program.

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