NFIB Member Business Opens Resort to School During Montana Wildfire

Date: September 12, 2017

When a Montana high school was under mandatory evacuation notice due to wildfires, NFIB member business Resort at Paws Up opened its doors to students to hold classes during their first week of school.

Due in part to the state’s severe drought, Montana has been fighting wildfires for months, and the fires are still unrelenting, according to The New York Times. Last week, Gov. Steve Bullock called the dozens of wildfires this summer “one of the worst fire seasons” in Montana’s history, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes, businesses, and now, schools. With the beginning of the school year for many on Tuesday, more wildfires in northwestern and central Montana threatened whether school would be in session. 

Seeley-Swan High School has been under evacuation order this week, but students were still able to attend classes thanks to NFIB member business Resort at Paws Up. Over 20 miles away from town near Greenough, the luxury resort opened its doors to Seeley-Swan high school students for the first week of classes, according to the Associated Press

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Resort at Paws Up welcomed the high school students to hold their classes in the administrative building, and the lodge’s staff cooked the students their meals. 

High school senior Gabby Sexton told KPAX about her first day of school at Resort at Paws Up. “Going back to school stinks, but this place is pretty great and the food is awesome,” she said.

Resort at Paws Up’s ranch employs six master chefs from across the country and hosts vacation-goers in its luxury cabins and tents, which attract celebrity guests like Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.

Wildfires often occur in Montana’s late summer months, but this year has been exceptional, according to Angela Wells, a fire information officer at the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “The period from June to August was the hottest and driest on record in Montana, and our fire season started about a month earlier than it usually does,” she told the New York Times.

According to Wells, “drought conditions are predicted to persist and expand throughout the fall.” While there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, Montana residents can continue to look out for one another and share the spirit of small business generosity.



NFIB Disaster Planning Checklist

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