Big Sky Roundup

FEMA approves funding to combat Buffalo fire

By: - July 19, 2021 5:22 pm

Gov. Greg Gianforte tours the Robertson Draw fire in Carbon County (Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office).

Federal authorities approved Montana’s request for grant money to combat the Buffalo fire burning in Yellowstone County, according to a press release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

At the time of the request, the fire was threatening 285 homes in and around the Huntley, which were under an evacuation order. The fire was also threatening three cell phone towers, electric infrastructure in the area and the wastewater treatment facility, Gov. Greg Gianforte said in a press release about the grant request being approved. The grant was approved after FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Tammy Littrell determined the fire “threatened such destruction that it would constitute a major disaster.”

As of Monday, the fire has consumed 288 acres and 75 percent of the perimeter is contained, according to the incident tracker from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Extreme wind caused by a storm sparked the wildlife Friday night northeast of Billings, near the Pryor Creek Golf Club. The winds uprooted a metal roof from an unoccupied home on Shooter’s Buff Trail sending it into a nearby powerline, The Billings Gazette reported.

Shortly after the fire started, Montana’s Department of Natural Resources and Conservation requested funds from Fire Management Assistance Grants, a program run through FEMA that pays 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs. The grants do not cover infrastructure damage to homes or businesses.

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Keith Schubert
Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert is a reporter for the Daily Montanan. Keith was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He has worked at the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently, the Asbury Park Press, covering everything from local craft fairs to crime and courts to municipal government to the Minnesota state legislature. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on Wisconsin sports teams and exploring small businesses. He can be reached by text or call at 406-475-2954 .