FEMA Authorizes Funds to Fight Montana’s Bridger Foothills Fire

DENVER, CO (STL.News) Saturday, September 5, 2020, FEMA authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the Bridger Foothills Fire burning in Gallatin County, Montana near Bozeman, Montana.

FEMA Regional Administrator Lee dePalo approved the state’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) after receiving the request and determining that the fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster.

At the time of the request, the Bridger Foothills Fire was threatening more than 250 homes and structures around Bozeman, Montana, population 18,532.  The fire is also threatening at least 250 homes and the Lyman Creek watershed.  Approximately 250 residences are under voluntary evacuation.  The fire started on September 4, 2020, and has burned in excess of 475 acres of state and federal land.

The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires.  These grants do not provide assistance to individual home or business owners and do not cover other infrastructure damage caused by the fire.

Fire Management Assistance Grants are provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund and are made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires that threaten to cause a major disaster.  Eligible items can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; mobilization and demobilization activities; and tools, materials and supplies.

With the FMAG authorization, additional funding is made available through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Post Fire for the mitigation of wildfire and related hazards, such as flood after fire or erosion.  Some eligible wildfire project types include defensible space measures, ignition-resistant construction, and hazardous fuels reduction.