Both state and federal governments have spent a combined $378 million this year battling blazes.
This was the most expensive fire season in Montana since at least 1999, when adjusted for inflation. Montanans may need to prepare for similar wildfire seasons in the future.
The financial figures from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation do not take into account fires that are less than 100 acres in size, and reliable data only goes back to 1999.
"We had one of the most active fire seasons we’ve ever had because we had a very warm and dry summer. The period from June to August 2017 was the hottest and driest June to August period that we had on record," says DNRC Fire Information Officer Angela Wells.
KUFM-FM Montana Public Radio
The Bozeman Police and Fire Departments now have the capacity to provide better coverage to their rapidly-growing service area with new radios, worth an estimated $1.5 million, according to Sgt. Travis Munter.
"It's more important now than ever," Munter said. "We could be within 100 yards of another officer and we weren't able to communicate with them out on the west end."
Munter told NBC Montana the city has outgrown the department's radio capacity. He said as Bozeman's population grows, more buildings crop up, which caused more interference and static over the old radios, making it harder for officers to communicate with each other and the 911 dispatch center.
It’s easy to add up what we lost this summer: Trees, rangeland, homes and clean air. Fire took all that away and then some.
But let us not forget what was really lost, two firefighters who paid the ultimate price to keep us safe, one working on just the second wildfire of his career, the other an elite, experienced Hotshot with a family legacy of firefighting.
Both would die in Montana, killed by falling trees while fighting fire.
19-year-old Trenton Johnson recently graduated from Hellgate High School in Missoula where he was a member of the state champion Lacross team. He enrolled as MSU where he was going to be an engineer. Trenton was quirky and smart.
"He had an awesome sense of humor. Witty," said Trenton's sister DJ Johnson. "He'd be three steps ahead of the conversation and he's come up with just snappy, witty statements."
KPAX-TV 8 Missoula
Kids at Seeley Lake Elementary want to say thank you to firefighters who've worked for weeks on end at the nearby Rice Ridge Fire. They're painting "kindness rocks" to give to the firefighters to show their appreciation and support.
Seeley Lake Elementary Art teacher Sharon Teague got the idea from an online movement called the Kindness Rocks Project. The idea is for people to paint inspirational messages and art on rocks and leave them in public places for others to find. The goal is to inspire others to spread kindness.
Now kids from kindergarten through eighth grade are finishing their works of art. There will be more than 200 rocks to hand out when they're all done. They'll bring some to the fire camp and mail the rest to crews that have already left.
Despite the recent rain across Montana we remain in a state of disaster. Just last week more than 500 guardsmen were helping to battle fires but now roughly 200 have been sent home.
These men and women could be activated again at a moment’s notice. The guardsmen that do remain out on the fires are helping in a variety of ways... whether it's acting as security, helping to train fire fighters, mopping up, or even assisting in radio communications.
Captain Ryan Finnegan with Montana National Guard says should they get called up again they could respond much quicker.
“The training the airmen went through is good for quite a while so if there is another call up, those folks are already trained and we'd be able to get them out the door a little faster” says Capt. Finnegan.
“Fire in the hole, fire in the hole, fire in the hole.”
These words were yelled before an explosion as Malmstrom explosive ordnance disposal Airmen watch their detonation from a distance.
Recently EOD received a call for support to detonate possible explosive, oxidizing, and unsafe chemicals found in a laboratory of an abandoned mining site.
A project manager for the Carpenter-Snow Creek National Priorities List Superfund Site found chemicals in the chemical assay laboratory at the former mine site and requested assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA’s emergency response teams worked to safely containerize the chemicals and transport them to an appropriate disposal facility.