The Billings Gazette reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Montana’s disaster relief request of $44 million in the aftermath of the catastrophic 2017 fire season that burned more than 1,500 square miles.

FEMA reportedly denied Gov. Steve Bullock’s request for additional aid in late December. The federal agency has already granted Montana $11 million, covering some of the expenses for eight different fires, however, the state has spent its entire two-year, $60 million emergency fund for wildfire suppression this year, using it up before last season ended. Montana’s state budget crisis could become a public safety crisis without additional revenues from FEMA.

This summer’s fires burned more than 1.2 million acres. A representative from Bullock’s office says the state does not anticipate appealing the request, but will work with the congressional delegation to search for funding options.

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