Tester Announces More than $2 Million in Disaster Assistance for Fallon County

Funding will be used to repair damage from tornado that touched down in Baker last year

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $2.1 million in federal disaster assistance for Fallon County to help the community recover from a highly destructive tornado that touched down in Baker in June of last year.

“When disasters strike, we need to help folks on the ground pick up the pieces,” Tester said. “This funding will provide the people of Baker with resources to aid in a hard-fought recovery, allowing the community to restore some of what was lost.”

The damage from the tornado was widespread, destroying homes, barns, and public infrastructure—including utility infrastructure—and depositing approximately one hundred tons of hazardous debris into nearby Baker Lake. The funding comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and will be used to restore the lake.

“The award of the funds from FEMA to clean up the tornado debris is essential to restoring Baker Lake, a centerpiece of our community, to its pre-disaster condition,” said Jason Rittal, Fallon County Development Advisor. “In addition to the critical financial assistance, Fallon County appreciates the cooperation it has received from all federal and state agencies involved to date.”

In July 2016, Tester urged FEMA to award Fallon County this grant funding to help recover after the disaster.

“The communities urgently need federal resources in order to help them restore their homes, their infrastructure, and their way of life,” Tester wrote in a letter to then-FEMA Administrator William Fugate.

Tester recently secured FEMA funding for eight major fires raging across Montana this summer. He also secured over $3 million in FEMA funding to help with preparedness and collaboration across the state last month. This week, Tester will be voting “yes” on legislation to provide an additional $500 million to help offset the cost of the 2017 wildfire season.

Tester has launched an online portal to assist Montanans impacted by recent disasters and help determine what federal assistance they may be qualified to receive as a result of their losses.