Daines: Reverse Prohibition on Use of Montana’s UH-1H Helicopters for Firefighting

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK – Senator Steve Daines today urged the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to reverse the USDA’s prohibition on the use of UH-1H helicopters to combat Montana wildfires.

In a letter to Vilsack, Daines pressed the USDA for the maximum use of safe and effective resources to combat wildfires on federal lands.  

“As emphasized by Governor Bullock, UH-1H helicopters have a strong safety record and have been proven to provide a critical capability in the initial attack phase of combating wildfires,” Daines wrote. “As Montana and the nation confront one of the worst fire seasons in recent memory, I urge your Department to reexamine the current policy with respect to the UH-1H and modify existing regulations such that all safe and reliable assets are available and utilized as needed.”                                 

Today, Daines is attending a briefing on the Thompson-Divide Complex fires and is touring the Incident Command Post at West Glacier.

Daines recently authored an editorial to highlight the necessity of implementing comprehensive forest management reforms and ensuring the Forest Service has the resources necessary to fight fires and implement preventative measures.

Daines is a cosponsor of the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which overhauls federal wildfire policy, increases funding for fire prevention and ensures large forest fires are treated and funded as natural disasters. Daines’ release on the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act is available here.

Daines’ full letter to Vilsack is available here.