Preparing for Natural Disasters
Are you ready for possible spring flooding?
West-Central Montana has continued to receive new snow at the higher elevations even into mid-April this year. Most areas of the Lolo National Forest are at or well above average for snowpack and precipitation this winter. This is good news for irrigation needs and promises to keep water in streams and creeks late into summer. But these large snowpack numbers also increases the potential for flooding on Lolo National Forest roads this spring. Some level of flooding typically occurs across the Forest as mountain snowpack melts and fills creeks and rivers each spring. There are some common sense measures we all can take to mitigate the potential for getting stuck in soft road beds or caught by floodwaters on a Forest Service road. Please see this National Weather Service page for more information on ways to avoid getting caught in floodwaters while driving: https://www.weather.gov/safety/flood
See the links below to find more information about being prepared for natural disasters before they occur, and resources you can use to find out about incidents and keep you and your family and pets safe during these potential crises.
Lolo National Forest Information
This page will have critical closures and alerts for conditions on the Lolo National Forest, such as road closures.
These have more general advisory releases and notices of closures.
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service provides timely updates and local forecasts that offer important information on the potential for flooding and other natural disasters.
The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has several resources available to the public and homeowners related to Emergency Watershed Protection. Please visit this page for details.
USGS also has real-time current stream-flow conditions for 219 sites in Montana, and other useful tools.
Plan ahead before disasters strike using the tools on www.ready.gov to learn how to build a plan, talk with your family, how to stay safe, and how, if a disaster occurs to take action.
This site covers a multitude of potential disasters, and will help get you ready for a flood, wildfire, and much more.
Ready and Safe Montana
Ready and Safe is a website from the State of Montana DES, and has a wealth of information on preparing for natural disaster in the state, as well as response, mitigation, and training resources.
When natural disasters such as fire become critical and managed with an incident management team, information about the incident may be put on Inciweb to keep you informed.
Lolo National Forest Burned Area Emergency Response
On the Lolo National Forest Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams have analyzed the data they collected during surveys last fall and produced "Soil Burn Severity" maps for burned areas. This was the first step in assessing potential watershed impacts from wildfires to any downstream values that may be at-risk from potential increased flooding, sedimentation, debris flows, and rock slides. BAER teams produce a report that includes a description of the assessment and findings for the burned area's post-fire conditions along with recommended emergency stabilization measures and actions. That information is also shared with folks at NRCS and the National Weather Service and local county government emergency services, who interface more directly with the public on things like flood notification. BAER emergency stabilization efforts are focused on the protection of human life, safety and property, as well as critical cultural and natural resource values such as the water quality of lakes, rivers, and streams. Please visit this page for more information on the BAER work and those reports. https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5627/