Governor Steve Bullock on Wednesday issued an Executive Order declaring the following 28 counties and five Indian Reservations are in a drought disaster:
Blaine, Big Horn, Carter, Chouteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Richland,
Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, Treasure, Valley, Yellowstone, Wheatland, and Wibaux Counties and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, Crow Indian Reservation, and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.
"Extreme drought conditions are threatening the hard work of farmers and ranchers in Eastern Montana communities," said Bullock in a press release.
"My administration remains committed to helping these folks get back on their feet and ensuring that all Montanans stay safe during these hot summer months."
On June 23, Bullock issued Executive Order 5-2017 declaring 19 Montana counties and two Indian Reservations in a drought emergency.
Since then, sustained high temperatures and desiccating winds have caused severe worsening conditions and additional counties to suffer from extreme drought.
As of July 10, small nonfarm businesses in 16 Montana counties are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration after Governor Bullock sent a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting a Secretarial Drought Disaster Designation.
Affected counties and reservations are also eligible for the Livestock Forage Program.
Wednesday's drought disaster declaration continues the temporary suspension of "hours of service" regulations and engages maximum employee assistance and cooperation to secure further economic assistance for the affected counties and Indian Reservations.