Public meetings to kick off Lincoln County disaster plan update

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By JOHN BLODGETT

The Western News

The Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency is kicking off a five-year update of the county’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan with public meetings in Libby and Eureka next week.

The county is required to have such a plan to apply for and receive disaster mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Updating the plan “will re-examine the wide range of hazards that affect Lincoln County, recent hazard events, the probability of future occurrences, and the vulnerabilities of our structures and population,” states Emergency Management Agency director Brent Teske in an open letter to the community. “From that assessment, a plan of action to mitigate these hazards can be updated. Your assistance with update of the MHMP will ensure it is meaningful and relevant throughout Lincoln County.”

The Libby meeting will be held 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24 in the Ponderosa Room at City Hall at 952 E. Spruce St. The meeting in Eureka will be held 11 a.m. the following day at the Eureka Fire Hall at 10 Utility Way.

Lincoln County has contracted with Tetra Tech of Helena to help with updating the plan.

“This project considers how communities can be more resilient from such hazards as wildfire, flooding, severe weather, hazardous material incidents, terrorism and others,” Daphne Digrindakis, senior project manager for Tetra Tech, said by email.

“Although Tetra Tech will provide project management, technical assistance, and otherwise provide a majority of the administrative work on the plan, [community] participation is important to ensure our vulnerabilities are identified and the appropriate mitigation projects included in the plan,” Teske wrote.

Updating the plan is expected to take six months. Following the community meetings, weekly meetings will occur in October “to identify and rank the hazards which will be profiled in the plan and update the county’s mitigation strategy,” Teske wrote.

A draft plan is expected to be ready by Nov. 12, followed by a second public meeting and a 15-day review period ending Dec. 1. Following that, Tetra Tech will revise the plan and submit it to FEMA and Montana Disaster and Emergency Services.

During that time — December 2018 to January 2019 — members of the public can once again review the plan and provide comments, Teske wrote.

Tetra Tech will revise the plan based on those comments and submit the final version to Lincoln County, Libby, Troy and Eureka for adoption.

For more information, call Teske at 406-334-7194 or Digrindakis at 406-475-2648.

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