You'll probably only see damage like this photo in the movies or in a carnival hall of mirrors.

However, we created this image to bring attention to some facts.

This area of Montana is in an earthquake zone - The U.S. Geological Survey has reports of at least 16 earthquakes over 5.0 magnitude in the last 100 years. The Lincoln earthquake July 6 was 5.8, with a number of aftershocks that reached magnitude 4.

Reports from throughout the Bitterroot Valley told of various degrees of shaking, some of it frightening.

What should you check after an earthquake? FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency advises you to inspect your chimney for "unnoticed damage. Even a few cracks not obvious at first glance can create an unsafe condition the next time the fire place is used." That includes the possibility of a loose brick falling and plugging the chimney.

You should also check for gas, electrical, sewer and water line damage. That includes listening to water flow to determine any changes in sounds. Gas line leaks smell bad. Leave the house immediately and then call your gas company.

How do you prepare for another earthquake? Again from FEMA:

  • Create a disaster kit and make a disaster plan.
  • Move, relocate or secure anything that can fall and block an exit.
  • Move, relocate or secure anything that can fall and start a fire.
  • Move anything that can fall and require a lengthy cleanup.
  • There's no doubt that we will have more earthquakes in this area. A little preparation will help.

    Now, on to forest fire season .... You're ready for that, right?

    Not to worry - here's a couple of sites with LOTS of information on preparedness.

    Earthquake advice.

    Forest fire Advice.