US state declares wildfire emergency



Photo: IANS

Montana has declared a wildfire emergency as massive fires were raging across the US state and the country's western region, according to an executive order.

"Facing critical fire conditions that threaten our communities, first responders, and way of life, I today declared a statewide wildland fire emergency in Montana to ensure our first responders have the tools they need to safely and aggressively respond to wildfires," Montana Governor Greg Gianforte tweeted on Wednesday.

The executive order will help procure additional resources and tools for wildland firefighters and authorise the governor to mobilise state resources and the Montana National Guard to protect life, health, and property, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Extremely hazardous wildland fire conditions currently exist throughout the entire State of Montana, including near record to record high temperatures on a daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal time frame, excessive fuel loads, continual windy conditions, and low relative humidity," said the Governor in the executive order.

Moderate to extreme drought conditions exist throughout 84 per cent of Montana and 1,398 wildland fires have burned approximately 141,000 acre in the state as of Wednesday, Gianforte added.

He had proclaimed a statewide drought emergency two weeks ago in response to "a widespread and sustained abnormally warm and dry weather pattern" that has created worsening drought condition in the state, according to an executive order issued earlier.

Many of the fires have threatened residences, outbuildings, property, critical infrastructure and millions of acres of crops, rangeland, and forestland across Montana, and nationwide firefighting and aviation resources are experiencing critical shortages, the Governor added.-IANS

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