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Wildfire near Huntley draws support from FEMA grant

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Posted at 10:38 AM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 12:38:24-04

HUNTLEY - Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Monday morning the state has secured a FEMA grant to help cover firefighting costs on the Buffalo Fire burning near Huntley.

The fire exploded Friday night near Huntley Project and was estimated Monday to have burned 288 acres. Three structures have been lost to the blaze, which is burning near the Pryor Creek Golf Club and White Buffalo Trail Road in rugged terrain.

Fire officials announced Monday the wildfire was 75 percent contained and crews were expected to hold and strengthen the fire perimeter and conduct mop-up operations.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to our courageous firefighters who are working to protect our communities from wildfire,” Gianforte said in a press release. “To help them do their job and to reduce their risk of injury, we ask that folks take seriously warnings and evacuation orders from local officials and follow all necessary precautions.”

On Friday, Montana’s Department of Natural Resources and Conservation submitted the request for firefighting assistance from FEMA, and the agency approved the request that night.

At the time of the request, the fire was threatening 285 structures in and around Huntley. The fire was also threatening three cell phone towers, Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative infrastructure and headquarters, high voltage electrical transmission lines, and the wastewater treatment facility in the area.

The grant makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs. Eligible costs include materials and supplies, mobilization and demobilization, equipment use, and expenses for field camps, the press release states. Additionally, each FMAG generates over $550,000 in federal mitigation funding.