Manchester Volunteer Fire Chief Leonard Lundby says they sent a crew to both the East Fork Fire and the Alice Creek Fire, which ravaged our region over the summer.

“Last year we responded to several large fires because our neighbors really needed the help. And we were more than happy to do that,” Lundby said.

Manchester Volunteer Fire Department only has ten volunteers who help man the fire trucks for the department.

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Lundby says that if it wasn’t for their mutual aid partners in the county, they might not have been able to go to these fires.

“It took 20 percent of our crew away from us but left us with enough to still respond in our communities if we needed to,” Lundby said.

Lundby says he found out about the Montana Wildfire Relief Fund early on.

“I was stunned by the outpouring of support from folks around Montana. It was truly remarkable,” Lundby said.

Montanans helped raise more than six hundred thousand dollars to be distributed to fire departments and others impacted by last year’s historic fire season.

“Manchester got a seven-thousand dollar grant. That represents nearly one-third of our annual budget for us,” Lundby said.

The department will be replacing personal protective gear, along with many of their radios.

“We’ll be getting ready for next year’s fire season now. Training is going on and replacement gear is getting bought.”

Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News