Ash Creek Fire prompts federal disaster request

Helena, Montana (AP) August 2012

Gov. Brian Schweitzer has asked President Barack Obama to declare a disaster area for the two counties and an Indian reservation with damage from the Ash Creek Fire.

If Obama grants the request, federal aid will be made available to public infrastructure damaged by the fire in Powder River and Rosebud counties and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.

Schweitzer wrote in his letter that public-assistance damages in those areas is $1.6 million. Most of that was to Tongue River Electric Co-op infrastructure.

The 390-square-mile Ash Creek Fire was contained earlier this month after burning about 40 structures including 11 homes. Much of the area was also damaged during the floods spring 2011.

Schweitzer says he also has requested the Small Business Administration complete a damage assessment.