Alice Creek Fire Courtesy: Inciweb

Many people have asked how they can help the firefighting efforts across Montana, or donate to help the people affected by the fires.

More than 4,000 firefighters have been involved in the battle against the fires this season; two of them lost their lives fighting fires in western Montana.

There are several ways that people can help.

The Montana chapter of the American Red Cross can be reached at 1-800-272-6668, or online by clicking here. You can also mail donations to the American Red Cross of Montana, 1300 28th Street South (3rd Floor), Great Falls, MT 59405.

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Other ways that you can help:

  • 406 Family Aid Foundation: The 406 Family Aid Foundation, was started by a group of friends group that came together in an effort to help families in Western Montana.  They agreed on a name, and adopted the mission statement: “To aid persons and their families in Western Montana who are experiencing financial hardship caused by unforeseen illness, complications of a previous illness, loss in a family or natural disaster.”
  • The United Way of Missoula County: The United Way of Missoula County is gathering donations and providing help for folks who have been, or still are evacuated from the Lolo Peak fire and The Rice Ridge fire. All of the proceeds donated to the United Way will go to help people affected by the fires.
  • Lolo MT Community Outreach Group: The Lolo MT Community Outreach Group is a Facebook page that has been very active in finding help for residents who have faced weeks of uncertainty in the Lolo and Florence areas due to the Lolo Peak fire. It serves as a bulletin board for community members looking for, or willing to, provide help to affected residents.
  • Eureka Chamber of Commerce: The Eureka Chamber of Commerce is helping out in Lincoln County. They are operating under the 501c3 non-profit status of the Chamber, therefore your donation is a tax-free donation. C?ash and checks can be sent out to Eureka Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 186, Eureka, MT. In the ‘memo’ of your check please note ‘Fire Relief’ . Chamber and GoFundMe donations will be combined and distributed to those in need.
  • Libby Ministerial Association: The LMA will be accepting non-perishables and bottled drinks to be distributed as needed to firefighters, emergency responders and fire victims. LMA will be receiving donations. Call (406) 293-8331 for info. Monetary donations can be made to LMA (PO Box 1305) Please earmark funds for “Fire Response.” All monetary gifts will be distributed to those affected by the fires beginning locally and then reaching county-wide.?
  • Garfield County Fire Foundation Relief Fund: The GC Relief Fund is a subsidiary of the Central Montana Foundation. It has been created to help victims of the 2017 Lodgepole Complex fire.
  • The Bear Paw Volunteer Fire Department has created a donation button on its Facebook page and says: “For those that wish to donate money, please click the blue “Donate” button on this page through PayPal. Donations can also be taken to Independence Bank, or to Ezzies for fuel. BPVFD thanks you for your generosity in this time of need.” There are also donation drop sites at the Havre Fire Department (520 4th Street) at any time, and at HRDC (Monday through Friday 8am-5pm, 2229 5th Avenue).

Diane Wright, executive director of the Montana chapter of the American Red Cross,  wants people to know how to specifically donate money to the State’s wildfire relief effort, and NOT to the general disaster fund, which could put their money toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Wright says that best way to donate to the Montana Red Cross wildfire relief effort is by sending a check to the Great Falls headquarters and writing “Montana Wildfires” in the memo line.

If people want to donate online…they must first select the local chapter that they want their money to go to, and then very shortly after call the Great Falls office to verbally request that their donation goes to Montana wildfire relief efforts.

Wright said, “If you’d like for your money to stay here in Montana then you can select the option of a local chapter, and that money will stay here in Montana. If you want your money to be specifically used for Montana wildfires then we ask that you just call us and let us know, or if you’re sending in a check to our Great Falls location office, then you just write on your memo line ‘Montana wildfire.’”

You can also contact your nearest municipal or volunteer fire department, as they are best able to determine what resources are needed in your area.

For more information on all Montana wildfires click here.