DENVER – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the North Hills Fire in Lewis and Clark County, Montana.

FEMA Region VIII Administrator Lee K. dePalo approved the state’s request for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) after receiving the state’s request early Sunday morning.

At the time of the request, 600 homes were immediately threatened.  The fire was also threatening infrastructure, including a dam, major electrical transmission lines, county roads, and watersheds in the area.  Mandatory evacuations have occurred for approximately 500 people. More than 5000 acres had burned, and the fire is zero-percent contained The fire started on Friday, July 26, and is burning on federal, state, and private lands.

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 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.

July 28, 2019


    Officials are getting lots of questions about returning to residences. THE EVACUATION ORDERS HAVE NOT BEEN LIFTED and they don't expect to be able to even consider it for at least another 24 hours. Please do not go back to your homes if you have left. While no structures have been lost, the fire is still threatening many.

    For folks wishing to make monetary donations or donate from out of state, they can send it to Eric Dowell at Helena Safeway, 611 N. Montana Ave., Helena, MT 59601. They are currently checking as to whether they are able to do credit card payments over the phone with all the recent fraud activity. Eric is a member of the Fire Council and all money will go directly to the Council to distribute to the volunteer fire departments.