BOZEMAN - It’s been a little over two months since the Bridger Foothills Fire, and while it may be easy to forget things that aren’t fresh in your mind, families are still rebuilding and dealing with the effects.
“We need answers. We need help,” said Kassi Jons.
Jons and her family have lived in Bridger Canyon for 5 generations. For anyone it would be frustrating to lose property to a fire. But for them, the real challenge has been after the fire.
“Unfortunately, we’re still out of the house just because of the smoke damage that has occurred. Right now, we have taken down all the siding to get all the insulation out of the house,” she said.
But the biggest issue they and many other families are facing is what they say is the lack of assistance that was first promised.
“Insurance companies aren’t giving any money out to people that they need to get supplies to, build barns or fencing, or anything to get everybody back on their feet. You know you sign up with something in hopes that you will get their constant focus from beginning to end and it’s not like that at all,” Jons said.
And while those certain companies local and national aren’t maintaining promises, some are.
“United Way, they had multiple donations come through and they have been dispersing funds to all the families up here,” the homeowner said.
The Bridger Foothills Fire Relief Fund is jointly managed through a partnership between Greater Gallatin United Way, the One Valley Community Foundation and Southwest Montana Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD).
In addition to community support.
“It’s brought Bridger Canyon together. Neighbors have come to aid. Community has come to aid. Not only with donations but help, rebuilding all of our fences, barnes. You know, clearing out things. We needed help right away,” she said.
Moving forward, all this homeowner wants is promises fulfilled.
“It’s almost December, and the snow’s going to start flying again and the cold’s going to come. So, it’s fulfilling those promises that you made and making sure that you follow through with them,” Jons said.
Despite the challenges that still face this community, they’re determined to rebuild and stay strong together.