of the Sentinel Konah
The Montana wildfires reached an alarming $378 million charge, breaking the 1999 price tag for fighting the blazes. This exceeds the Montana state budget, which was $60 million as of July, by $318 million.
As of Oct. 14, 2017 the biggest fire, Rice Ridge, was 100 percent contained, but had spread to 160,187 acres and threatened over 1,719 buildings. The second biggest being the Lolo Peak fire has spread to 53,902 acres, with no evacuation orders in place yet.
According to Missoula Neptune Aviation's Executive Assistant CEO, Michelle McCue, pilots logged about 3,052 hours, 139 more than 2016. Pilots also successfully dropped more than one million gallons of retardant on Montana fires alone.
Even though Land Service works tightly with Neptune to keep the grounds clear to the best of their ability, thinning of the forest has been limited due to State cash going toward Neptune's aerial tankers.
With two plus months left in the fire season, cold weather has finally begun its way into Montana, ensuring further safety of Montana towns. As Neptune's aerial tankers begin their way down to California to aid in their fires, we can only hope our need for them doesn't pick up until next summer.