GREAT FALLS — Gov. Greg Gianforte is expressing his appreciation for firefighters who worked all day Wednesday to save lives and property just southeast of Great Falls.
The governor toured the damage on Wednesday evening where he was joined by Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter and two firefighters.
Earlier in the day, Great Falls Fire Rescue Chief Jeremy Jones said that 11 homes, 11 garages, seven outbuildings, and several cars were destroyed by the fire.
The fire started in a field at around 2:45 a.m. on Wednesday. What sparked the blaze remains under investigation. One chicken died in the fire, but there have been no other deaths or injuries.
Jones said it would likely be "a while" before residents in Gibson Flats would be able to return to their homes.
"They did a herculean job here at the Gibson Flats fire. We thought fire season was over. It's been a long season," Gianforte said. "We did lose eleven residences, but it could've been so much worse.”
Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter encouraged people to report downed power lines.
“It’s okay to call 911. Don’t assume that we know that power line is down. As things change, we may have missed it and it’s a safety concern for everyone that’s out there working, too.”
People who are affected by the fire and need assistance can contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-272-6668. Click here to learn how you can help the people affected by the fire.
Great Falls Fire Rescue said that the fire burned an estimated 120 acres.