Tester praises Cascade Fire efforts on Senate floor

Senator shares news of Cascade Fire while highlighting role of National Guard

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today praised all firefighters, first responders and volunteers battling the Cascade Fire during a speech to his colleagues on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Tester also told the Senate about the 6,000-acre Cascade Fire, which is threatening homes and property west of Red Lodge and burning "uncomfortably close" to the Red Lodge Mountain ski area.

"The good news is that Montana is blessed with outstanding firefighters from the United States Forest Service, tribal nations and the state Department of Natural Resources—as well as first responders from local volunteer and paid fire departments," Tester said.

Tester made the remarks while speaking about the importance of America's National Guard troops.  He said that if called upon, the Montana National Guard is ready to help fight Montana's wildfires "to dig out fire lines, smother embers and protect people, homes, and entire communities."

Tester, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said National Guard firefighters play a "vital role" in national security at home and overseas.  In addition to serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, some 200 Montana National Guard troops fought Montana's wildfires last summer.

"As the National Guard in Montana prepares for the inevitable mobilization fight against wildfires here at home, I think it's appropriate that we stop to thank the 3,500 strong members of the Montana National Guard for what it does both abroad and at home," Tester said.  "And as wildfires continue to threaten Montana's countryside and our communities, I want to pay tribute to all the brave men and women who put it on the line to fight fires."