Tester Lands Nearly $1.6 Million for Wildfire Prevention in Southwest Montana

Funding will come from the Senator Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Law

U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced today that he has obtained $1,589,160 in Community Wildfire Defense Grants from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) from his Employment and Infrastructure Investment Law (IIJA) to mitigate the risk of wildfires in southwestern Montana. Funds awarded to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, North Gallatin Front Urban Wilderness Interface Mitigation Project will be used to mitigate wildfire risk on approximately 1,000 acres of private land. The project will provide cost match funds for private property owners to perform home fire zone work on approximately 700 acres with small-scale landscaping work and approximately 300 acres on larger lots.

Tester worked across the aisle for months to negotiate IIJA with a group of five Republicans, four Democrats, and the White House, and was the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation to vote in favor.

“As a third-generation farmer, I know that wildfire season creates real challenges for communities like Bozeman,” said the tester. “Many people in Washington don’t understand the challenges we face in Montana. That’s why I fought to secure $500 million in my Bipartisan Infrastructure Act for the Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program, which will ensure local Montana communities have the tools they need to prevent and prepare for fires. before they wreak havoc on our land and livelihoods. ”

The Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program, or CWDG, is intended to help at-risk local communities and tribes plan for and reduce wildfire risk. This program, which was authorized by IIJA, prioritizes at-risk communities in areas that are at high or very high risk of wildfire, are low-income, or have been impacted by a severe disaster that may increase the potential for wildfire. . .

Tester has led the charge in mitigating wildfire risk in Montana communities. In December, Tester secured $4.4 billion for wildfire suppression in the government’s 2023 funding package. Tester also secured $1.5 billion in disaster relief funds for the National Park Service in this legislation.

Last June, Tester successfully lobbied the Biden Administration to increase pay and support for wildland firefighters ahead of the 2022 fire season. And in November 2021, Tester secured $3.37 billion to reduce wildfire risk. , which included $500 million for Forest Service Community Defense Grants, $500 million for prescribed fires, $500 million for mechanical thinning and lumber harvesting, and $200 million for post-fire restoration activities. through the IIJA.