GREAT FALLS – 60 members of the Montana Air National Guard have been activated by the state of Montana.
The deployment is in response to Governor Steve Bullock’s Executive Order declaring a fire emergency in Montana issued on Aug. 11.
The guardsmen are scheduled to report to the 120th Airlift Wing at the Great Falls International Airport Aug. 28. They will train and then be deployed to the Lolo Peak Fire.
The Lolo Peak Fire has burned 35,000 acres and is 16 percent contained. There are over 1,200 people assigned to battle the fire. It has cost an estimated $28 million to fight the blaze.
The mission is expected to last 15 days unless extreme fire conditions change promoting an extension.
120th AW Installation Deployment Officer Capt. Elizabeth Hewett said helping Montana when there is a need is what makes being in the Guard unique.
“Part of being a guardsman at the 120th Airlift Wing is not only to participate in overseas contingency operations but to also support domestic operations in the state of Montana as well,” Hewett said. “The guardsmen at the 120th Airlift Wing take pride in their state and are willing to combat wildfires in whatever capacity necessary to get the mission done.”