Drought disaster increased to 31 counties, 6 reservations
Gov. Steve Bullock issued an executive order on Friday declaring 31 counties and six Indian Reservations are in drought disaster.
The counties are: Blaine, Big Horn, Carter, Chouteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Lake, Lincoln, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sanders, Sheridan, Treasure, Valley, Yellowstone, Wheatland and Wibaux.
Also included are the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, Crow Indian Reservation, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and the Flathead Indian Reservation.
On July 19, Bullock declared a drought disaster for 28 of Montana’s 56 counties and five Indian reservations.
The newest drought disaster declaration continues the temporary suspension of “hours of service” regulations and waives temporary registration, temporary fuel permits and over-dimensional permit requirements for commercial vehicles providing support for the drought, state officials said.
The declaration also compels maximum employee assistance and cooperation with the United States Departments’ of Agriculture and Commerce to secure timely economic assistance.
As of July 10 small nonfarm businesses in 16 Montana counties are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration after Bullock sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting a Secretarial Drought Disaster Designation. Affected counties and reservations are also eligible for the Livestock Forage Program.
Bullock said high temperatures, extreme drought and worsening fire conditions are affecting Montanans in many corners of our state.
“We’re doing everything we can to minimize the economic impact of these hot and dry conditions and help folks get back on their feet using all resources available,” he said.
For more information visit www.drought.mt.gov.