Day two of the mandatory evacuation due to flooding on the Clark Fork River brought officials sharing with the media some updates on the flood response.

Incident Commander Mel Holtz with the Office of Emergency Management said security of homes that have been evacuated is of high importance.

“We will have deputies patrolling the evacuated areas for the purpose of protecting the homes that have been evacuated,” said Holtz. “Anyone trespassing will be dealt with by law enforcement. The last thing we want them to worry about when they’re evacuated is their homes being threatened by other people.”

Holtz said access to the evacuated areas is being tightly controlled.

“Residents who have been evacuated are not going to be allowed to come back in past the roadblock,” he said. “As conditions allow, homeowners will be allowed in isolated areas to work on preventative measures with their property. We have a lot of pumps running out there and people need to fill up those pumps and we want to keep those measures going.”

Holtz said there are two shelters open for displaced residents by the Rod Cross, at Christ the King Church and also in Seeley Lake, but as of Tuesday night, there were no evacuees utilizing the shelters.
Captain Anthony Rio with the Missoula Sheriff’s Office said crews with heavy equipment have been dispatched to the Schmidt Road area for motor homes that were washed off their foundations.

“There were two trailer houses, mobile homes that were washed of their foundations,” said Rio. “They were not occupied at the time. One of the things that we’ve been concerned about is those mobile homes washing downstream and in a worst-case scenario hitting one of the bridges such as Kona Bridge and taking out that bridge. Because of that, we’ve had to cut the power to that area.”

Rio also said a Civil Air Patrol pilot too him on a flight over the surrounding mountains, and it was evident that the majority of the snow pack feeding the area rivers is still there waiting to melt and wash downstream.

Rio said he has never seen flooding like this in his many years in Missoula.

There is an information line available at 258-INFO, and another public meeting is scheduled at 6:00 p.m. at Hawthorne Elementary School.