HELENA, Mont. — Gov. Greg Gianforte has declared a statewide drought emergency as more than 92% of Montana faces abnormally dry conditions.
The declaration issued Thursday directs the state departments of agriculture, livestock, natural resources and conservation to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to secure federal funding to address the fallout.
The order also suspends some regulations for motor vehicles providing drought-related support.
A report released by the state Wednesday predicts drought conditions will worsen in the next two months.
Drought metrics are significantly worse than they were at this time last year, when just under half of the state confronted similar dryness.
The following was sent out by the Office of Governor Gianforte:
Governor Greg Gianforte today issued an executive order declaring a statewide drought emergency in Montana.
“Every region of the state faces severe to extreme drought conditions, and the situation is getting worse. These alarming drought conditions are devastating our ag producers, challenging our tourism industry, and could bring a severe wildfire season,” Gov. Gianforte said. “This emergency order makes available all necessary state government resources to mitigate the impacts of this drought and protect Montanans.”
Executive Order 11-2021 directs the Departments of Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources and Conservation to provide maximum assistance to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on drought-related activities to secure timely economic assistance from the federal government.
It also suspends regulations for motor carriers and persons operating commercial vehicles while they provide direct drought-related support.
According to data in the Summer 2021 Montana Drought Forecast Report released yesterday, the U.S. Drought Monitor indicates approximately 91 percent of Montana faces abnormally dry to extreme drought conditions as of June 22.
Drought conditions at this point in 2021 are substantially worse than at the same time last year when approximately 52 percent of the state confronted similar conditions.
The July forecast projects below-normal precipitation throughout the state and a 40 to 50 percent chance of above-normal temperatures across much of Montana.
The governor’s executive order declaring a statewide drought emergency is effective immediately and can be viewed here.