More Federal Help is Promised for Montana Wildfires
Seven new firefighting buckets are being purchased by a National Guard and Reserve Equipment appropriation for the Montana Air Army National Guard's helicopter fleet. The Guard requested two firefighting bucket kits for CH-47 helicopters and five firefighting bucket kits for UH-60 helicopters from the National Guard Bureau.
The request was supported by Montana Senator Jon Tester, in December 2017 comments to the National Guard Bureau. Tester announced this week that the Chief of the National guard Bureau, General Joseph Lengyel, told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the buckets "are on their way." It's hoped the buckets will arrive before the next fire season.
Montana Senator Steve Daines also has been pushing for more federal support against the wildfires. He said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be working with him to improve the agency's effectiveness in assisting the state.
Daines, in a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, said, "FEMA must treat wildfires like the natural disasters they are and do more to address the unique challenges faced by Montana."