Governor Greg Gianforte issued an executive order on Wednesday, July 14 declaring a statewide wildland fire emergency in Montana.
“Montana faces critical fire conditions that pose significant threats to our communities, infrastructure, first responders, and way of life,” Gov. Gianforte said. “As our firefighters battle active fires across the state with more to come, this executive order helps ensure they have the suppression resources, supplies, and fuel they need to safely and aggressively respond.”
As of July 14, nearly 1,400 wildland fires have burned over 141,000 acres in Montana. Of these fires approximately 78 percent have been human caused, adding a significant workload to volunteer and agency wildland firefighters.
“I’m urging all Montanans and visitors to our state to do their part. Follow local fire restrictions, prepare your homes and communities for wildfire, and recreate and work safely to ensure you’re not adding to our wildland firefighters’ workload by inadvertently starting a wildfire. Our dedicated, courageous first responders are depending on us all,” the governor continued.
The governor issued Executive Order 12-2021 in response to the extremely dry and dangerous wildfire conditions that exist across the state and to the national shortage of firefighting resources.
The executive order will help procure additional resources and tools for our wildland firefighters, including the authorization for the governor to mobilize the Montana National Guard to assist in fire suppression efforts.
Executive Order 12-2021 will also help provide relief to our local and volunteer firefighters, who have been integral in providing tireless response efforts, but have been strained under the current record-setting fire season. It also acknowledges the importance of aggressive initial attack and the critical role of cooperation among suppression agencies.
The governor’s executive order also authorizes him to activate the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). EMAC is a nationally adopted mutual aid agreement that allows states to share resources with one another during times of emergency or disaster.
The hot and abnormally dry conditions are expected to continue through August, and new wildland fire starts are likely throughout much of the state.
Executive Order 12-2021 is effective immediately.