CLEARMONT — Costs associated with the fires that consumed thousands of acres of land northeast of Clearmont earlier this month have yet to be totaled, but not for a lack of effort.
“We won’t get totals for the fire until spring,” Sheridan County Fire Warden Bill Biastoch said. “It doesn’t come easy. You’ve got a lot of costs that come in from feds and state and county and also the volunteers and all that and it takes a while to get all those.”
Biastoch said instead of counting every individual volunteer, he totals the hours and the amount of expenses.
“I’ve never totaled up the number, but there were quite a few,” Biastoch said. “That’s the best way of putting it. Some of them were there three, four, five hours; some were there 10 hours, some 50 or 100 hours. It varies.”
Biastoch said the Cottonwood One Fire burned more than 44,000 acres in Sheridan County. The fires on the other side of the road added more than 4,000 acres to that count. The difficulty of adding up costs comes from collecting information from numerous agencies.
“It takes a long time to get through all that,” Biastoch said. “There were a lot of contractors involved; there were just a lot of things. The state was involved, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), the Forest Service was involved and then the state of Montana was involved too. We were sharing back and forth.”
Biastoch also said fire engines traveled from Goshen, Fremont and Johnson counties in Wyoming and as far out as Colorado to help. Biastoch expects the final cost to be finalized in the spring.