“Talks have been ongoing since 2014”…what the heck has Gov Steve Bullock (D-MT) been up to? Does he wait till the fire is burning out of control before he gets a sense of urgency? Has Steve Bullock spent too much time raising dark money as head of the Democratic Governor’s Association, and not enough time taking care of Montana?
For those who caught my earlier blog post– the federal government won’t allow the State of Montana to use our own helicopters to fight fires on our own federal land. While the Northwest burns, and we hear warnings about resources being exhausted, helicopter crews are forced to sit and watch.
Per the Associated Press:
The U.S. Forest Service notified Montana in 2014 of a policy requiring that helicopters of that type carry buckets 100 gallons smaller, state forester Bob Harrington said Monday.
Talks have been ongoing since 2014 to find a solution to the impasse, Harrington said, but the nationwide equipment shortages resulting from the explosion of wildfires across the West in recent weeks have added to the urgency.
And here you thought Bullock just had an issue with Eastern Montana, and that’s why he had no sense of urgency in dealing with Eastern Montana infrastructure. Looks like he may have some issues with Western Montana as well.
In other fire-related news, you likely already heard about this story– but let’s put it in perspective. Environmentalists and the Left keeps telling us that all of these fires have nothing to do with land mismanagement. Well, we now have a Code Pink in our national forests. That’s right- because the beetles have been allowed to so drastically overtake our national forests, the makers of aerial fire retardant had to actually change the color of the product.
The Missoulian: Fire retardant color changed from rusty red to hot pink
“The SEAT pilots, air attack pilots, lead planes, heavy air tankers – they all say it shows up so much better than the iron oxide, and that showed up good before,” said Lou Gildemeister, senior field technology representative for Phos-Chek, the Idaho-based company that makes most of the retardant used on wildfires. “Sometimes when they’re flying into the sun, with the glare in the cockpit it can be hard to see how the lines tag up. This shows up extremely well when flying into the sunlight.”
It also shows up well on lots of different kinds of vegetation, including the increasing stands of rusty, beetle-killed timber in the northern Rocky Mountains. Air tankers are often used to “box in” a fire by drawing lines of retardant around its perimeter. If they can’t see where the last pass landed, they can leave gaps.
“We had that problem before we had the huge beetle-kills, but it’s gotten more serious,” said Cecilia Johnson, a fire chemical technical specialist at the U.S. Forest Service’s Technology and Development Center in Missoula.
Back to Bullock…Roll Call is apparently taking note of the danger facing his re-election effort. They’ve now changed the rating in the Montana Governor’s race, showing the added threat to Bullock’s re-election.
Roll Call: Ratings Changes in Two Governors’ Races
Bullock narrowly won his first term in 2012 and might be restricted by the contribution limits in the state ($650 maximum from individuals) when going up against a potential self-funding challenge from Gianforte.
Gianforte still might have a primary and could flame out as a first-time candidate, but this could also develop into a serious headache for Democrats. We’re changing The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating from Democrat Favored to Leans Democratic.