For much of the nation, Montana’s wildfire crisis — the worst the state has ever seen — has gone largely overlooked. Massive hurricanes from beyond the Gulf of Mexico and other national and international news have garnered most of the headlines.
Meanwhile, Montana has experienced the horror of nearly 50 wildfires this season that have consumed roughly 1 million acres of land, a tally that has been exacerbated by severe drought conditions.
Kiley Martin Judisch, who lives in Conrad, Montana, found a way to help. Along with other members of the Martin family (Kelly, Mikel, Kesler, and Cutter), she has created Montana Strong T-shirts, which she is selling on Etsy for $25 each. All profits from the shirt sales will go toward wildfire relief.
Judisch and most members of her family are certified as Firefighter Type 2, in which they work in three-person crews at various wildfires. The family has a Type 6 wildland fire truck, which is built on a pickup truck frame and helps to supply manpower, equipment, and water to battle blazes.
“We’ve fought fires in Washington, California, Montana, pretty much everywhere up here. So it’s pretty close to our hearts,” Judisch said.
During these Montana fires, the air quality is diminished, land has been destroyed, and cattle have been displaced.
“Seeing the destruction, it’s affected everybody,” she said.
The Montana Strong shirts are available in blue or gray and from size XS to XXL.
Even if you’ve never been to Montana, there are a lot of reasons to support our brothers and sisters in agriculture in a time of need. Visit the Etsy link if you’re interested in making a purchase.
And this isn’t the first time this family has helped with wildfire relief — in the spring, as fires devastated Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado, the Martins helped to raise $3,000 in relief funds through their shirt sales.