GREAT FALLS — Governor Greg Gianforte on Wednesday signed an executive order declaring a statewide wildland fire emergency in Montana.
A news release says that as of July 14, nearly 1,400 wildland fires have burned more than 141,000 acres in Montana. Of these, approximately 78% have been human caused, according to Gianforte, creating a significant workload for volunteer and agency wildland firefighters.
Gianforte said he issued Executive Order 12-2021 in response to the extremely dry and dangerous wildfire conditions that exist across the state and to the national shortage of firefighting resources. He says the order will help procure additional resources and tools for wildland firefighters, including the authorization for him to mobilize the Montana National Guard to assist in fire suppression efforts.
“I’m urging all Montanans and visitors to our state to do their part. Follow local fire restrictions, prepare your homes and communities for wildfire, and recreate and work safely to ensure you’re not adding to our wildland firefighters’ workload by inadvertently starting a wildfire. Our dedicated, courageous first responders are depending on us all.” - Governor Greg Gianforte
The order will also help provide relief to local and volunteer firefighters, who "have been integral in providing tireless response efforts, but have been strained under the current record-setting fire season." It also acknowledges the importance of aggressive initial attack and the critical role of cooperation among suppression agencies.
The order also authorizes the governor to activate the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a nationally-adopted mutual aid agreement that allows states to share resources with one another during times of emergency or disaster. Click here to read the full text of the order (PDF).