Governor Surveys Richard Spring Fire Damage in Eastern Montana
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Richard Spring Fire in Eastern Montana was officially estimated at over 170,000 acres with 65% containment. This, as Gov. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) is in the area meeting with fire officials and tribal leaders.
The governor travelled to Colstrip for a briefing from incident command on the Richard Spring Fire. Afterwards, he was scheduled to meet with Northern Cheyenne council members on the fire response.
Gov. Gianforte: As with every fire, we responded to Richard Spring with one goal: put out the fire as safely and quickly as possible. Our response model of aggressive initial attack was made possible by strong coordination among state, local, tribal, and federal partners.
*Updated at 2:30 p.m.: The governor's office sent out the following readout following the fire briefing:
As of Tuesday, August 17 at around 8 a.m., there are 25 large fire incidents in Montana. The state remains in Preparedness Level 5, and the Northern Rockies region is the number three priority region in the nation. Since January 1, there have been over 2,040 fire starts in Montana burning around 792,000 acres. Since the governor’s fire briefing last Tuesday, there have been 96 new fire starts. Officials estimate approximately 50 residences have been lost this year to date. The largest fire in Montana is the Richard Spring Fire, at 170,000 acres and 65 percent containment. The top priority fire in Montana is the West Lolo Complex-Thorne Fire, at 32,121 acres and 15 percent containment. Montana entered the fiscal year with the Fire Suppression Fund at its statutory maximum of roughly $105 million. Officials estimate that nearly $39.2 million from the fund have been spent fighting fire since the start of the state’s current fiscal year.
Earlier in the week, Gianforte talked about the wildfires in Montana on Fox Business. He noted that the fires have already burned more than 10 times the acreage we would see consumed in a typical fire year. Over 760,000 acres have burned, with north of 80 fires currently burning.
Gianforte also hammered President Biden on Fox Business for begging OPEC for oil after shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline.
It’s really horrendous and the reality is we could have produced these fuels here, creating American jobs and increasing national security.
Fox Business also noted:
Gas prices have been increasing at the pump for the past few weeks, reaching a national average of $3.19 a gallon as of Monday, which is the most expensive gas price average of the year and $1.01 higher than the same time in 2020, according to AAA.
LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving