DENTON — It’s been more than three months since the West Wind Fire scorched the town of Denton and forced residents to evacuate. Now, a crucial piece is now being rebuilt - the bridge over Wolf Creek.
Community has defined the town this year, as Denton and central Montana came together in a time of need. Countless dollars and donations have been made since the fire ravaged the town, but a key step in restoring it is now underway.
The bridge is just west of town and its destruction cut off eastbound traffic on Highway 81. Now, traffic is being detoured right next to where the bridge was, and more normalcy is back in the town.
Denton Mayor Joel Barber says the last month has been a good step for the town cleaning up after the fire and people are starting to get back to normal.
“It was nice they were able to get to the bridge right away. I know there’s a lot of bridge work in the whole state but the fact they were able to do this first thing in Spring was nice because it’s the main way into town from the west. It feels like we’re finally turning the page on the whole thing,” Barber said.
“There’s still quite a bit to do but it’s good to see a lot of the fire cleaned up and some new houses, people getting their living situations figured out. It’s going to take a while to heal from the fire and everything, but I think everybody’s got a good perspective going forward," Barber continued.
For Denton residents, it’s a promising sight to see the bridge under construction and to get another piece of Denton back how it’s supposed to be.
Lifelong Denton resident Louden Miller says he couldn’t imagine losing as much as the town did and adds he's grateful to see the bridge being repaired.
“Great thing to have back in the community again. I mean we never thought that’d go away. The bridge and everything. It being gone, we never realized how much a part that bridge is, so now that it’s coming back will be a big relief.”
The bridge is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.