Governor declares state of energy emergency as wildfires flare

The Beeskove fire is burning in the Rattlesnake Mountains north of Missoula. (USFS)

Gov. Steve Bullock has issued an executive order declaring a state of energy emergency to meet the demand for aviation fuel and other fire suppression resources in order to fight the wildfires burning in Montana.

Gov. Bullock also secured a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from FEMA to help fight Helena’s North Hills Fire, according to a news release.

“I join all Montanans in thanking the firefighters who are working around the clock to keep lives and property safe as we face some challenging fires in our state,” Gov. Bullock said.

“I’m also grateful to FEMA for acting quickly and providing us with assistance, and I’m pleased that local, state and federal agencies are coordinating closely to mitigate risk and put out fires,” the statement added.

Several recent new fires have caused an increased demand for driver’s hours transporting aviation fuel and other fire suppression resources, which necessitates increased driver hours to meet the demand.

The temporary suspension of “hours of service” regulations will facilitate and expedite the distribution of energy products.

The North Hills Fire, at 2,600 acres, spread Saturday following red flag weather including strong winds and heavy fuel loads.