Gov. Brian Schweitzer has issued this executive order:
WHEREAS, extremely hazardous wild land fire conditions currently exist throughout south central and southeast portions of Montana, including near-record temperatures and low relative humidity; and
WHEREAS, extreme weather and dry thunderstorms have sparked numerous fires in counties in southcentral and southeastern Montana, and the fire danger and predicted weather indicates continued extreme fire activity throughout the region; and
WHEREAS, the Rosebud Complex Fires (Rosebud County, including Northern Cheyenne Reservation) ignited on August 1, 2012, and the Sarpy Hills Complex Fires (Big Horn County, including the Crow Reservation) on August 1, 2012, both of which include multiple fires totaling more than 150,000 acres and have experienced extremely high temperatures, low relative humidity, wind and extremely dry fuel; and
WHEREAS, these fires are currently uncontrolled, individually and combined, threatening numerous communities, including Lame Deer, Ashland, and Colstrip, Montana, creating an imminent threat of a disaster, which timely actions can avert or minimize; and
WHEREAS, in the past, an aggressive initial attack on all wild land fire starts has been the top priority of Montana's fire fighting forces, as such an attack considerably reduces the number of large wild land fires, which in turn significantly reduces the damage to both public and private property; and
WHEREAS, continued aggressive initial attacks on all future wild land fire starts are needed to protect lives and property in the state; and WHEREAS, additional state resources are needed to reinforce Montana's initial attack capabilities and support reduction of large wild land fires should they occur; and
WHEREAS, under these conditions, pursuant to.§ 10-3-302, MCA, the Governor may mobilize state resources and the Montana National Guard to protect life, health, and property by declaring a state of emergency.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BRIAN SCHW'EITZER, Governor of the State of Montana, by virtue of the authority vested in me pursuant to the Montana Constitution, Title 10, Chapter 3, MCA, and other applicable laws of the State of Montana, do hereby declare under § 10-3-302, MCA, that an emergency exists in the counties of Judith Basin. Fergus, Wheatland. Petroleum, Garfield. McCone, Richland, Dawson. Prairie, Wibaux, Fallon, Golden Valley, Sweet Grass, Stillwater, Carbon, Musselshell, Rosebud, Custer, Carter, Treasure, Yellowstone, Big Horn, and Powder River Counties and the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations in the State of Montana.