As temperatures rise and snow melts in western Montana, officials in Ravalli County are making preparations for possible spring flooding.

Sheriff Steve Holton frankly admits that inevitable flooding will occur in Ravalli County, and prudence dictates that citizens prepare in any way possible.

“We’re going to have a flood season this year,” said Holton. “It’s kind of strange. It was 14 below zero and we started having flood meetings. But, now that it’s warming up we’re trying to coordinate some efforts ahead of time so that people can get prepared, making sure we have sand and sandbags ready that people can go and get.”

Holton listed the locations where Ravalli County residents can obtain the necessary supplies.

“Darby Town Yards has them and the Ravalli County Fairgrounds and those are on the access roads next to the county road shop right off of Fairgrounds Road,” he said. “Corvallis Station number two and mile marker nine on the Eastside Highway, the new Victor Fire Station on Meridian Road and then Stevensville Fire behind the Subway shop at the Wye. Three Mile Fire has some on Three Mile Creek Road and Florence Fire has some on Hidden Valley Road North at Station Number Two.”

Holton said residents can pick up sand and sandbags, fill them up so they can be deployed.

“Even if the warm-up is slow, we’re still going to have a lot more water than we’ll know what to do with.”

Holton said that sandbags should only be placed to protect structures and must not be used to divert water onto other properties. Do not place sandbags, boards or other obstructions or diversions in irrigation ditches or canals. Stay clear of these areas and do not park vehicles near the ditches or on access roads. For questions regarding wells or septic tanks, contact the Environmental Health Department at 406-375-6565.

The Ravalli County Office of Emergency Management may be contacted for further information during normal business hours at 406-375-6655.

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