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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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U.S. government rejects aid for Montana firefighting costs

Associated Press

HELENA – U.S. government officials have rejected Montana’s request for aid in battling a group of wildfires that have been classified as the nation’s top firefighting priority.

Gov. Steve Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel said Tuesday the state is appealing Sunday’s rejection of a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The fire management assistance grant would allow the state to recover 75 percent of its costs to suppress the four fires that have burned nearly 400 square miles and destroyed at least 16 homes in Eastern Montana.

The Lodgepole Complex is burning through a mix of private, state and federal land.

Abel said the governor spoke with FEMA administrator Brock Long, who assured Bullock that he would personally review the appeal.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester also sent Long a letter demanding to know why the request was denied.

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