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"Resource Center" event in Great Falls aims to help people affected by recent fires

Gibson Flats fire (December 1, 2021)
Gibson Flats fire (December 1, 2021)
Gibson Flats wildfire (Wednesday, December 1, 2021)
Posted at 8:34 AM, Dec 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-11 10:46:10-05

GREAT FALLS — The American Red Cross and Cascade County Community Organizations Active in Disaster are teaming up to host a "Resource Center" in Great Falls on Saturday, December 11, 2021 to help families following two devastating fires.

On December 1, 2021, a wind-driven wildfire destroyed at least 11 homes and many other structures in the Gibson Flats area southeast of Great Falls; three suspects have been charged for that fire. That same day, the West Wind Fire forced the evacuation of the entire town of Denton in Fergus County. At least 13 homes were destroyed in that community as well as businesses, bridges, and grain elevators.

The resource center on Saturday will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building at Montana ExpoPark (400 3rd Street NW), and will connect families with resources and organizations that can help with immediate needs as well as long-term recovery.

Services provided will include mental health support, spiritual care, restoration services, housing assistance, financial assistance, distribution of cleanup supplies, and help navigating insurance claims.

American Red Cross spokesman Matt Oschner said, "The most important thing is these families need to know they're not going it alone. Montana is going through a really difficult time right now but when we go through difficult times, Montanans rise and help. And it's just a real easy way for these families who are hurting to be able to go to one place and access all the services and support that's available."

Community partners provided food, lodging, shelter and support to those affected by the fires and will continue to help families with their long-term recovery.

For more information about the resource center event, call Shellie Creveling with the American Red Cross at 406-468-8875.