SEELEY LAKE – While Montanans deal with wildfires, other natural disasters are terrorizing America’s coasts. But because of a brutal fire season, incident teams that usually respond to other disasters are still working to fight regional fires.

Incident Management Teams from across the region have been fighting several big wildfires across the state, but most years, those efforts are wrapping up by now. A long and exhausting fire season has kept those crews working on those fires, instead of assisting in other national disasters.

Mike Cole with Greg Poncin’s Incident Management team currently fighting fires in Seeley Lake, says their team has assisted with many non-fire disasters throughout the country through the years.

“And now you have. Hurricane that’s landed in Texas and Louisiana. And another one that’s approaching Florida. Normally we would have resources available to support those hurricane efforts, “Cole said.

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“Right now, all of our people are tied up in this part of the country and you can’t leave one to do another one you’ve got to figure out how to do the whole thing,” Cole added.

Greg Poncin’s team also worked on the Lolo Peak Fire before being re-assigned to the Rice Ridge and Liberty Fires.

MTN’s Don Fisher