After several long weeks away from their homes, over 60 families displaced by the Clark Fork River flood of 2018 may be allowed to return home sometime next week, conditions permitting.

Director of Missoula County’s Office of Emergency Management Adriane Beck said affected parties are encouraged to attend a public meeting this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Hawthorne School on South 3rd Street West.

“At this meeting it’s really just the initial introduction to the recovery phase,” said Beck. “We have compiled a packet from all of our government entities, such as our office, the health department as well as the flood plain and public works for building officials. Northwestern Energy, the Red Cross, all of the agencies and organizations that are active in interacting with people who may have been impacted by the flood.”

Beck said there are dangers that returning evacuees should watch out for as they head back to their properties.

“That’s part of what’s in the recovery packet, hazards to be aware of,” she said. “There are health concerns relative to their well and septic. We’re also going to ask them to do an initial damage assessment so that we have a better idea of the amount of damage to private property.”

Beck said there are two categories involved with assessing the monetary damage from this year’s flood.

“There’s the damage done to public infrastructure, roads, bridges and those kinds of things,” she said. “We’re also estimating the cost of the county’s response, such as overtime and dedicated resources to this flood event. As far as our estimates, we’re right about at $280,000 for emergency response and we’re still estimating the damage to roads. Part of the meeting on Sunday will be a damage assessment form so that we can estimate the damage to private property. All that information is important for us as we try to tabulate the ultimate cost of this disaster, which will determine whether or not we are eligible for other funding mechanisms either from the state or from the federal government.”