Montana is helping in the California fight wildland fires.
Fifty-four Montana wildland firefighters and sixteen wildland engines are headed to California to assist in firefighting efforts.
The state of Montana received a request from the California Office of Emergency Services yesterday afternoon to provide critically needed firefighting resources to support the firefighting effort in southern California. Governor Bullock authorized support for California, charging the Montana Disaster and Emergency Division (MT DES) with the task of recruiting local firefighting teams.
“We are working with our partners in California to ensure that Montana can provide any and all needed resources we can,” stated Delila Bruno, MT DES Administrator. “In Montana, we often have to request resources from California to assist us during our fire season. This is Montana being a good neighbor.”
California requested fifty strike teams of type I, III, V and VI wildland engines from Montana and six other states to fight the fires which started on December 4th. State officials worked closely with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and the Northern Rockies Coordination Center to begin filling the requests.
MT DES staff worked through the evening to complete the logistics to get the personnel and equipment en-route to California. By Wednesday evening, firefighters and wildland equipment from fourteen separate rural, city, county and volunteer fire departments statewide agreed to assist.
The firefighters and equipment were formed into one strike team and two task forces. The crews and equipment are currently headed to California, expected to arrive late Thursday evening and begin work Friday.
The formal request came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact process which allows for equipment and personnel to be quickly requested and manned for life and property safety between states in times of natural disasters.