Gianforte issues statewide wildland fire emergency

By: - July 14, 2021 7:30 pm

A screenshot from the National Weather Service forecasters for Glendive and eastern Montana, issued on July 14, 2021 (National Weather Service).

With moderate to severe drought conditions in nearly 85 percent of the state and no end to temperatures reaching triple digits, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has declared a statewide wildland fire emergency, which will allow him to mobilize state and National Guard resources as well as ask for other state’s help in battling blazes.

Gianforte’s order notes that 1,398 wildland fires have burned more than 140,000 acres as of Wednesday, and fire resources throughout the country are stretched thin.

The National Weather Service in Billings is predicting highs in the upper 90s and low 100s for the next week, while the same is true for weather conditions in Helena, Great Falls and Missoula. Eastern Montana will be under an “excessive heat warning” this Saturday and Sunday as the predicted highs are 101 and 103 respectively.

The emergency order also allows for trucking and equipment that is normally not permitted on roads to be transported in order to stave off the threat.

“I’m urging all Montanans and visitors to our state to do their part. Follow local fire restrictions, prepare your homes and communities for wildfire, and recreate and work safely to ensure you’re not adding to our wildland firefighters’ workload by inadvertently starting a wildfire,” Gianforte said.

Here are several resources to help residents understand the conditions better:


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Darrell Ehrlick
Darrell Ehrlick

Darrell Ehrlick is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Montanan, after leading his native state’s largest paper, The Billings Gazette. He is an award-winning journalist, author, historian and teacher, whose career has taken him to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, and Wyoming. With Darrell at the helm, the Gazette staff took Montana’s top newspaper award six times in seven years. Darrell's books include writing the historical chapters of “Billings Memories” Volumes I-III, and “It Happened in Minnesota.” He has taught journalism at Winona State University and Montana State University-Billings, and has served on the student publications board of the University of Wyoming.