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South-central Montana assesses flood damage; evacuations still active in some communities

A building with a green roof stuck in the middle of a stream of water on Tues. June 14, 2022.
Kayla Desroches
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
A former inn is caught in the flooded Rock Creek in Red Lodge on Tuesday.

Authorities in south-central Montana’s Carbon County are assessing damage and removing debris after a historic flood hit the area over the weekend.

Officials ask non-resident travelers to avoid the flooded areas. Rock Creek washed out bridges in Red Lodge and they remain unsafe, according to Inciweb Wednesday.

At the request of authorities in Carbon County, a state-level incident management team joined this week to assist local agencies. Public Affairs Officer Mel Holtz says crews are trying to restore road and bridge access in Red Lodge.

“Work continues on clean-up in the Broadway area in hopes to get some heavy truck traffic through to work on additional shoring up of some of the bridges and some of the roads in the area,” Holtz said.

Also on scene is the Montana National Guard, which said as of Wednesday it had rescued 87 people from flooded areas around the state.

Public Works staff and the Montana Department of Transportation are looking into damage to utilities and roads.

The National Forest Service closed public access to forest areas in Carbon, Stillwater, Sweet Grass and Gallatin counties. Also closed are several highways and roads, including Highway 212 south of Red Lodge and the nearby entrance to Beartooth Pass.

As crews take account of the damage in Red Lodge, Holtz says the small community of Fromberg was also severely impacted.

“Some roads washed out, also some bridge issues as well, and so our operations folks are spending the day with the mayor and commissioners and the rest of the staff down there to really understand what their needs are, what their problems are and then working on establishing some access to those roads as well,” Holtz said.

Fromberg and parts of Red Lodge are without water service. Authorities advise residents in Fromberg, Red Lodge and Edgar to boil their tap water before consuming.

Evacuation orders are in place for parts of Belfry and Fromberg, according to Inciweb.

The only street in Belfry under an evacuation order is Lover’s Lane. In Fromberg, evacuations are in place east of Highway 310. An evacuation order was in place for Red Lodge, but has since been lifted.

The Red Cross set up shelters for evacuees in the Fromberg School and Red Lodge Fairgrounds.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.