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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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County Assist Team


"To provide a cost effective, readily available incident management resource for local jurisdictions, to work with them in bringing order out of the chaos that results during an emergency or disaster."

The CAT is an all hazard Incident Management team that was originally formed in 1990 to help rural and volunteer fire departments with wildfires when activity stretches the local initial attack forces beyond their capability. The team is sponsored by Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC).

The team is unique in that the core team consists of eastern and central Montana people that represent a wide variety of professions. The team is made up of volunteer fire fighters, farmers, ranchers, business professionals, local government, Montana State University (MSU), DNRC, USDA Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management employees. The team members form a complimentary mix of local and inter-agency personnel with a combined strength due to their diverse expertise. Local government, volunteer fire departments and landowners are comfortable working with this management team due to the fact that they know many of them as neighbors, friends or even family.

Team Goals:

  • Adhere to local jurisdictional policy, by interfacing and maintaining effective lines of communication with responsible agencies, local leaders and the public.
  • Promote mutual respect and rapport between local emergency responders and team members.
  • Provide relief and assistance to local government when an incident becomes too large or complex to manage on their own.
  • Increase the response capacity of the local jurisdiction by providing incident management capabilities and access to additional resources.
  • Provide a quick response to rural areas that have limited resources.
  • Follow recognized standard protocols to keep the safety of the public and firefighters as the number one priority.
  • Manage the incident within reasonable financial constraints by utilizing efficient and cost effective techniques.
  • Ensure incident documentation with written Incident Action Plans, media and public fact sheets, financial records and resource orders.
  • When not involved with an incident, provide training opportunities for county and local fire protection agencies.

All team members maintain qualification certification standards according the to National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).

Each year, the team provides training for volunteer fire departments and cooperators during a weekend session in a mock incident setting, "CAT Camp".  The weekend features a full set up of camp and takes the participants through check-in at the incident, role assignment, training on engine and pumper operations, live fire burn practice, building fire line, and mob-up. All incidents are managed following the National Incident Management System (NMS) Incident Command (ICS) guidelines.


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Fire Protection Contacts

Fire FAX:406-542-4242

Bureau Chief   
Fire Protection     406-542-4223

Deputy Chief    
Operations         406-542-4220

Planning & Intel 
Fire Protection    406-865-0556

Westside Incident    
Business Specialist   406-751-2245

Eastside Incident       
Business Specialist    406-535-1902




2705 Spurgin Road, Missoula, MT 59804
Phone: (406) 542-4300
Fax: (406) 542-4217