Legislative Fiscal Divison: 2017 firefighting costs most expensive in state history

Courtesy: Hill County/ Montana DES

HELENA- The Legislative Fiscal Division says the 2017 wildfire season is expected to cost the state $74.2 million.

Wildfires in 2017 burned nearly 1.3 million acres.

During the 2017 Legislative session, lawmakers budgeted $32.3 million to fight fires for the fiscal years 2018 and 2019. This year’s fire burned through that entire amount as well as an additional $12.5 million from the Governor’s Emergency Fund for Fires.

That leaves nearly $45 million in costs for this season unfunded and no money in the coffer for the 2018 fire season.

The next most expensive year on record for the state was 2007. Fires that year cost Montana around $50 million.

You can read the state’s report here.