WASHINGTON – All three members of Montana’s Congressional delegation discussed Wednesday helping victims of Hurricane Harvey and also say Montana needs help with wildfires.
Republican Senator Steve Daines said preventing wildfires is impossible, but he also said poor forest management has led to more widespread fires in Montana. He urged Congress to take steps to stop frivolous lawsuits that he says prevent logging and other prudent management of forest lands.
“I can speak on behalf of all of Montana – we are tired of being told that others know better than we do, when we watch our forests burn every summer, our mills close, our neighbors lose jobs, and our communities suffer from the lack of management. of our federal lands,” Daines said.
Democratic Senator Jon Tester said Congress is ignoring climate change, which is leading to historic drought, and severe fires in Montana and elsewhere in the West.
He also said as Congress approves aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, it shouldn’t forget about aid to Montanans and others impacted by widespread fires this year.
“I am confident that we can work together to ensure the victims of Harvey get the relief that they need and the states that are burning and impacted by drought, like Montana, have the resources they need to protect our citizens, our economy and our way of life,” Tester said.
“We need to get the resources here to get these fires put out,” Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) said. “We need to pray for rain and cooler weather and then we need to look at long term forest reform.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency granted emergency funding last month, for those affected by the Lodgepole Complex fires, according to Tester.
Tester also said he helped secure $3 million in FEMA grants for Montana.
Daines also announced Wednesday $347,000 in federal grants for firefighters. Of the appropriations, $53,346 is dedicated to the Bozeman Fire Department for personal protective safety equipment. Another $294,054 will go to Miles City to purchase vehicles.