Montana

Aug 7, 2012 7:38 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News

Fire destroys MT Highway Patrol radio tower

A wildfire has destroyed a Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) communication tower.

Major Tom Butler says the Rosebud Fire Complex destroyed MHP's radio tower over the weekend.

The tower transmits communication between the Troopers on the road and the dispatch center.

The affected area is limited to nine southeastern Montana counties: Big Horn, Rosebud, Garfield, Treasure, Custer, Prairie, Powder River, McCone, & Carter.

Butler says Northwestern Energy has allowed them to temporarily use their tower to transmit information. However, he says MHP will have to rebuild.

In the interim, Butler says they are working with local law enforcement to make sure MHP stays operational.

"We interface with all 56 Sheriff's offices across the state very well, and have a great working relationship with them," Butler says. "We've been able to utilize the local county dispatches to make sure that our response times and our services that we provide the public have not been impacted by the fire damaging our radio site."

Butler says Troopers are also able to communicate to dispatch through the laptops in their vehicles which use a cell phone connection to send and receive important patrol information.

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