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FEMA approves disaster assistance for 2 more Montana fires

UPDATED: Mon., Sept. 11, 2017, 2:04 p.m.

A large air tanker drops a load of retardant on a lightening sparked fire south of Helena, Mont., Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. (Thom Bridge / AP)
A large air tanker drops a load of retardant on a lightening sparked fire south of Helena, Mont., Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. (Thom Bridge / AP)

HELENA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved disaster assistance for two wildfires on northwestern Montana.

FEMA funding is available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs for fires in Lincoln and Sanders counties that are threatening 925 homes and businesses in and around Plains along with 45 homes and businesses southeast of Libby. The state’s applications, filed Sunday, said the fires also are threatening power and telephone transmission lines, cellphone towers, a gas pipeline, highway bridges and watersheds.

The two fires started during a lighting storm on Aug. 30 and have combined to burn 45 square miles.

The state applied for fire management assistance grants for fires near Seeley Lake, Augusta and Libby on Saturday and received word Sunday that they were eligible for federal assistance.


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