Cascade County issued a flood risk warning to the Gibson Flats area just south of Great Falls following fires earlier this week through a press release Friday afternoon.
Gibson Flats and the surrounding area are at high risk of flash flooding and mudflows following the fires and the county urges residents to secure flood insurance to protect homes, businesses and property. Most homeowners' and renters' insurance policies do not cover flood damage, with flood insurance being a separate policy needed for protection in the event of a flood.
"Wildfires result in a loss of vegetation and leave the ground charred and unable to absorb Water," the release read. "This creates conditions for flooding. Even areas that are not traditionally flood prone are at risk of flooding for up to several years after a fire."
If you lose a structure in FEMA's designated Special Flood Hazard Area the county said to contact the Cascade County Planning Department at (406) 454-6905 or visit cascadecountymt.gov to complete an Emergency Notification form prior to or within five days of doing any work on their property including, but not limited to, structural debris removal, excavation, grading, and/or placing any structures within the Special Flood Hazard Area.
The release said recreation vehicles may be placed in the Special Flood Hazard Area for no more than 180 consecutive days but must remain road-ready.
"Floods are the most common and expensive natural disaster in the U.S. Just an inch of water in an averaged-size home can cause more than $25,000 in damage," the release read.
For more information, please contact the Cascade County Planning Department at (406) 454-6905.
Nicole Girten is a Government Watchdog Reporter at the Great Falls Tribune. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: Flood risk warning in Gibson Flats area following fires