US Government Reverses Denial of Montana Firefighting Aid


US Government Reverses Denial of Montana Firefighting Aid

 
27 July 2017

published by https://www.usnews.com


USA – HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. government abruptly reversed itself Thursday and said it will offer aid to Montana for the cost of fighting the nation’s largest wildfire, which has destroyed 16 homes and prompted 34 states to send crews and equipment.

The Federal Emergency Management agency on Sunday rejected Montana’s original application for a grant that would pay for 75 percent of the state’s firefighting costs for the four fires burning through open plains and farmland in eastern Montana.

State officials immediately appealed the decision. Gov. Steve Bullock asked FEMA administrator Brock Long in a phone call to reconsider, and the three members of Montana’s congressional delegation sent Long letters of appeal.

On Thursday, FEMA officials sent the state’s Disaster and Emergency Services division a one-line email that said, “Please be advised that the Lodgepole Fire Complex has been approved” and assigned it a FEMA code.

The Lodgepole Complex is the name for the fires that have burned 422 square miles (1,093 square kilometers) of state, federal and privately owned land at a cost $6 million to date, according to the Northern Rockies Coordination Center. It was not immediately clear how much of that cost — which also includes federal firefighting efforts — would fall under the grant awarded to the state.

FEMA spokesman Jerry DeFelice said the state’s appeal contained additional information that was either not included or was incomplete in the original application about the fire’s economic impact, potential to spread and strain on state and local resources. It was forwarded to the agency’s Washington headquarters, where it was approved, he said.

The grant will allow the state and affected counties and towns to recover most of the costs on everything from the use of firefighting equipment to sheriff’s deputies controlling traffic in the fire zone until the fires contained. About 600 people had contained 62 percent of the fire area by Wednesday morning.

Bullock, U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte and U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester all rushed out statements taking credit for the grant’s approval.

DeFelice said he could not speculate on whether political pressure influenced the federal agency’s decision to reverse course and accept the state’s application.

A spreadsheet attached to FEMA’s acceptance email shows that 41 applications to the agency’s Fire Management Assistance Grant Program have been approved for the fiscal year that ends September 30, and 16 have been denied.

An international team of climate researchers from the US, South Korea and the UK has developed a new wildfire and drought prediction model for southwestern North America. Extending far beyond the current seasonal forecast, this study published in the journal Scientific Reports could benefit the economies with a variety of applications in agriculture, water management and forestry.

Over the past 15 years, California and neighboring regions have experienced heightened conditions and an increase in numbers with considerable impacts on human livelihoods, agriculture, and terrestrial ecosystems. This new research shows that in addition to a discernible contribution from natural forcings and human-induced global warming, the large-scale difference between Atlantic and Pacific ocean temperatures plays a fundamental role in causing droughts, and enhancing wildfire risks.

“Our results document that a combination of processes is at work. Through an ensemble modeling approach, we were able to show that without anthropogenic effects, the droughts in the southwestern United States would have been less severe,” says co-author Axel Timmermann, Director of the newly founded IBS Center for Climate Physics, within the Institute for Basics Science (IBS), and Distinguished Professor at Pusan National University in South Korea. “By prescribing the effects of man-made climate change and observed global ocean temperatures, our model can reproduce the observed shifts in weather patterns and wildfire occurrences.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-atlanticpacific-ocean-temperature-difference-fuels.html#jCpAn international team of climate researchers from the US, South Korea and the UK has developed a new wildfire and drought prediction model for southwestern North America. Extending far beyond the current seasonal forecast, this study published in the journal Scientific Reports could benefit the economies with a variety of applications in agriculture, water management and forestry.  

Over the past 15 years, California and neighboring regions have experienced heightened conditions and an increase in numbers with considerable impacts on human livelihoods, agriculture, and terrestrial ecosystems. This new research shows that in addition to a discernible contribution from natural forcings and human-induced global warming, the large-scale difference between Atlantic and Pacific ocean temperatures plays a fundamental role in causing droughts, and enhancing wildfire risks.

“Our results document that a combination of processes is at work. Through an ensemble modeling approach, we were able to show that without anthropogenic effects, the droughts in the southwestern United States would have been less severe,” says co-author Axel Timmermann, Director of the newly founded IBS Center for Climate Physics, within the Institute for Basics Science (IBS), and Distinguished Professor at Pusan National University in South Korea. “By prescribing the effects of man-made climate change and observed global ocean temperatures, our model can reproduce the observed shifts in weather patterns and wildfire occurrences.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-atlanticpacific-ocean-temperature-difference-fuels.html#jCp


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