DENTON — Walking through the town of Denton in Fergus County is a lot different than it was just six months ago as the community continues recovering from a devastating wildfire.
The West Wind Fire on Dec. 1, 2021, destroyed numerous homes and properties in town, and it’s been all hands on deck since then.
On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Gianforte made a stop in Denton at the Longbranch Bar to talk to people about the ongoing recovery.
“It’s important for me to hear the local voice so I can be an advocate for all of Montana when I’m back in Helena,” Gianforte said.” “What Denton went through was tragic. I was here while the town was still burning but Denton is resilient. I heard the trauma that still exists in these families. We’ve been working with the community to rebuild. I was pleased to see a new home under construction in town. They want people coming back but we have a lack of housing.”
At the forum, residents explained their efforts, thoughts, frustrations, and hopes. The town is building back and there is still plenty left to accomplish, including finding homes and solutions for some dislocated families.
Although there’s still work to be done, the community still shares optimism with one another as Denton starts to return to normal.
Beau Carter was one of those residents, having helped in the three major fires in the Denton area last year. He came to learn more about what’s being done to prevent future fires and agrees the forum was a way to bring the community together and get some reassurance.
“Denton’s tragedy is behind us but fire danger is not. Our recovery process has been great. It’s been a lot faster than a lot of people might have anticipated,” Carter said. "People that have driven through town have made the comment how great everybody looks. Puts a little more reassurance in the community that we’re not in this cleanup alone.”