KALISPELL - The flooding in the Flathead seems to be coming to an end, but we are still waiting for more possible storms in the next few days. That being said, the rivers are still running fast and cold and are not safe to be in or around.
The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office is urging people to stay away from rivers while these dangerous conditions continue. As the sense of emergency begins to lessen in the Flathead, officials are looking at what is next.
“I think today I stand here with a better, more hopeful approach to where we're at and that is that we are seeing some opportunities that we might be able to start staging resources back because the river levels may stabilize,” said Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino.
When the river does stabilize, the next step is assessing the damage. The Montana Disaster and Emergency Services is teaming up with FEMA to disperse more than 200 people across the state to begin assessing damages and how to get people the resources they need.
“So we just want everyone to know that we have lots of capacity right now to really help the people of Montana. Our number one priority is getting Montana back to being cold again and we want people to know that Montana is not a detour right now. It's still a destination. We're still open for business," said Montana Disaster and Emergency Services Western Field District Officer Audrey Walleser.
Senator Jon Tester attended the incident brief on Saturday morning and encouraged the public to listen to first responders and to take pictures and document everything to aid in getting the help they need.
“I think we all know that Mother Nature, whether she smiles or frowns upon us, coming up is going to dictate a lot of how busy you're going to be in the community, but I think it's about communication, cooperation, and documentation," Tester said.
Although officials are trying to move forward, they are aware that we are not in the clear yet.
“There's a potential that there's some areas who may see water again, we just don't know; Mother Nature hasn't exactly called our people and told us what she's going to do yet," said Walleser.
Looking back on the events of last week, Sheriff Heino views the interagency cooperation as a success.
“Some of the best things I can tell you is in this community of Flathead we are a family. We are a community and that is our success,” said Heino.
For the most up-to-date information, monitor the Flathead County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.