Tester to Obama: Feds must be ready for fire season

Senator urges President to prepare agencies to help suppress fires, keep communities safe

(U.S. Senate) – With drought conditions increasing in many Montana counties, Senator Jon Tester is urging President Obama to ensure that all federal agencies are well prepared to keep Montana and the West safe this fire season.

Tester pointed out that various agencies and departments, from the U.S. Forest Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the Department of Defense, are responsible for working with state and local officials to fight fires and keep communities safe.

“The federal government plays a critical role in wildfire preparedness, response, and restoration on both federal and non-federal lands,” wrote Tester in a letter to President Obama. “Seamless coordination will ensure that these important resources are made available as soon as possible to assist civilian resources that are stretched thin.”

Many fire officials are predicting a more severe fire season this year than normal. According to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, there are currently three active wildfires in Montana.

Tester earlier this year led the Montana delegation in supporting legislation to free up resources for forest management activities that reduce fire risk.

Tester’s letter to President Obama is available online HERE.