RED LODGE — The destruction in Red Lodge is unlike anything the town has ever seen.
Federal assistance is on the way for Carbon, Park and Stillwater counties and as that assessment happens, residents are helping each other begin to rebuild the town.
Top FEMA administrators visited Red Lodge Thursday from Washington, D.C., and Denver.
They toured the damage with a delegation of Montana leaders including U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell says due to the level of damage done to the communities, President Joe Biden authorized a presidential disaster declaration for public assistance.
Criswell explained that the money will support costs incurred by counties during response, repair and rebuild of infrastructure in the short term, and long-term rebuilding of roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure.
Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz says 300 homes were evacuated around Red Lodge, 147 of which were flooded.
In addition, Kuntz says about 100 houses still can’t be reached due to washed-out roads and bridges. Between 12 and 15 private and public bridges were washed out
On Thursday, teams of community members and volunteers were moving home to home, bailing mud and debris out of homes trying to let people get back in and get an idea of the damage.
The group, called the Bucket Brigade, meets at the corner of Platte & 13th at 9 am.
“We’re beaten down, we’re cut, we’re bruised but Red Lodge is here and it’s still standing,” said Taylor Monfort, a cook at PEROGATIvE Kitchen who escaped his flooding basement apartment.
“Everyone is going to do whatever they can to make sure we can return to our way of life as soon as possible.”