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Gianforte asks feds for more help with wildfire mitigation work

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte is asking the federal government to step up the pace and scale of its wildfire mitigation work. Gianforte says Montana needs help addressing what he calls an unprecedented wildland fire risk.

Gianforte on Monday invited U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Montana to “chart a clear path to address our shared goals" — including efforts to both reduce Montana’s fire risk and improve forest health.

The governor’s letter says state officials have identified almost 4 million acres that are a high priority for fuel reduction work, 60% of which are on federal land. Gianforte says existing initiatives funded on both the state and federal level are helpful, but adds more must be done.

Among other requests, his office asks for USDA’s commitment to formalize use of the Montana Forest Action Plan, which was introduced in the state over a year ago. The document guides forestry and logging projects in Montana for the next decade.

Copyright 2022 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.