Tester praises Forest Service readiness to fight wildfires

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after the U.S. Forest Service announced that Missoula-based Neptune Aviation will provide three additional air tankers to the agency’s fleet this summer to combat wildfires in Montana:

“Wildfire season is always unpredictable, and that means we need to make every resource available to keep folks safe. I’m proud that a Montana company will work with the Forest Service to protect our communities and our forests – in Montana and across the West.”

The additional aircraft bring the Forest Service’s firefighting fleet to 21 air tankers and more than 100 helicopters.

Tester recently pressed U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to commit his agency to having additional air tankers ready to fight fires by July 1.

Tester, as Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, also held a hearing last week on managing tribal forestland to prevent wildfires on 334 reservations across the country.