Tester Secures Critical FEMA Disaster Assistance to Help Fight Lodgepole Complex Fire

After Demands from Tester, FEMA Will Provide Equipment, Shelter, and Additional Resources to Combat Nation’s Largest Fire

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester has secured critical life-saving resources to help fight the Lodgepole Complex Fire in eastern Montana, currently the largest fire in the nation.

“These funds will help protect Montana families, businesses, and lands that are threatened by the nation’s largest fire,” Tester said. “It is time to get in gear and get this fire put out so we can focus on rebuilding and restoring lives and businesses in eastern Montana. While I am disappointed that it took so long for FEMA to step up to the plate, this is a step in the right direction for what’s sure to be a very busy fire season. I am grateful for the firefighters and first responders who are on the fire line battling this blaze.”

Tester secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The grant declaration will cover 75 percent of the firefighting and mitigation costs incurred by the state of Montana. Tester called FEMA Administrator Brock Long on Monday and again Wednesday to urge the agency to reconsider after it denied the state of Montana’s request for assistance.

Tester also sent a letter to Long with Governor Steve Bullock to request the Fire Management Assistance Grant declaration be granted.

A Fire Management Assistance Grant declaration helps provide equipment and supplies, evacuations and sheltering, federal and out-of-state resources, and mitigation, management, mobilization and demobilization funds.

Tester spoke on the Senate floor this week calling on Congress to pass legislation that treats wildfires like any other natural disasters so responders can tap emergency funding in order to fight them.