Heavy Snow Causes Widespread Power Outages
Submitted by Courtney Stone
Prolonged wet, heavy snow caused trees still laden with leaves to fall across power lines throughout Flathead Electric Cooperative’s service area today. Significant damage to the system (lines, poles) occurred and widespread power outages resulted. Crews were dispatched before dawn to begin restoring power and are working into the night as trees continue to fall and new outages occur.
Repairs to the electric system will continue overnight, Thursday, and possibly into the weekend, due to the high number of outages spread across nearly the entire service area. That area is over 3,000 square miles, or about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It contains 5,014 miles of energized power lines.
The Co-op has called on contract crews and other co-ops for mutual aid. Crews will work around the clock to restore service to all members as quickly as possible as they re-prioritize restoration based on safety. They will focus first on transmission lines, then substations, then distribution lines.
The Co-op’s Outage Map, found at https://outage.flathead.coop:8181/, remains the best place to find information about outages and to sign up for text message updates. However, due to the high number of outages, map updates such as estimated times of restoration may be delayed or inaccurate. As a result, the Co-op has also created an outage update page to post additional information as it becomes available. https://www.flatheadelectric.com/outage-updates
The Co-op encourages members to report power outages only once and keep the phone lines open for all members. Members’ patience and kindness is greatly appreciated during times of power loss, which the Co-op recognizes is inconvenient and frustrating.
The Co-op reminds members that power outages in heavily treed Northwest Montana are always a possibility, and that being prepared for a power outage is a necessary part of living in this area. During a power outage, take the following steps:
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
- Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
- Do not use a gas stove to heat your home.
- Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
- Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
- If safe, go to an alternate location for heat or cooling.
- Check on neighbors.
Before an outage, check that you’re ready:
Prepare your alternate heat source, i.e., source and properly store kerosene for your heater; candles; and wood, gas, or pellets for stoves.
Stock up on water and store it where it won’t freeze! Keep in mind that electric water pumps don’t work when the power is out.
Lay in extra food supplies, including infant formula and pet food.
Charge up your devices, and put your flashlights, batteries, power banks, lanterns, and radios in an easy-to-access location.
Top off your gas tank. Most gas stations rely on electricity to operate their pumps, and you might need to use your vehicle as a charging or warming station in an emergency.
Prep your home for cold temperatures. Seal drafts, insulate pipes, and install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups on every level of your home.
In the event of power loss, please visit the Co-op’s outage center to make sure your area’s outage has been reported, to sign up for text message alerts, and to stay informed. Outage Center – Flathead Electric Cooperative – flatheadelectric.com/outage.
Photo Courtesy of Courtney Stone
Cabinet Mountain Elite Wrestling
CME has exciting news!! The LOR Foundation Membership Voucher Program has been granted Starting in December, we have availability for 20 athletes to receive the assistance for one year and continue to work on additional funding. Our community appreciates the support of LOR Foundation. Come check out the location, Tue-Thurs at 5pm, and ask for an application.
4 Paws Open House & Client Appreciation
From left to right: Chelsea Meadows, Maddie Brobst, Amanda Plummer (Owner), Todd Sines, Valerie Hunting (Co-Owner), Michele Thompson.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (Region 1)
Montana’s two-day, youth-only deer hunt is coming up October 20 and 21, and general deer season opens October 22.
The Apprentice Hunter program allows anyone 10 and older to hunt with a mentor for two seasons without completing a hunter education course.
- Apprentice hunters must re-certify each of the two years to be eligible.
- Certification can only be done at an FWP office, although the forms can be downloaded ahead of time from the website.
- A person must be certified before purchasing appropriate licenses, which will then show apprentice status.
- If the mentor is not related to an apprentice who is under the age of 18, a legal guardian’s signature also will be needed, and the parent must provide his or her driver’s license in addition to the mentor’s.
- A mentor must present a valid driver’s license or other identification at the time of certification.
- A youth need not accompany the adult to certify as an apprentice, but he or she does need to fill out paperwork and understand the guidelines.
Learn more: https://fwp.mt.gov/hunt/education/apprentice-hunter
Northwest Montana (Region 1) Reminders
Hunters should review the regulations for each hunting district they plan to hunt.
Hunters should “Be Bear Aware” and properly store food and carcasses. Hunters should avoid hanging carcasses near houses or garages. Carcasses should be suspended at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet out from any upright support. Hunters are encouraged to carry bear spray and know how to use it. More food storage and safety information are available on the FWP website.
Hunters who purchased the limited 199-20 either-sex white-tailed deer B license can only use that license within the Libby CWD Management Zone.
Hunters can harvest an either-sex white-tailed deer on their general deer license from Oct. 22-Oct. 28 in most Region 1 hunting districts. Youth ages 10-15 and hunters with a Permit to Hunt from a Vehicle (PTHFV) can still harvest either-sex whitetails throughout most of the region for the remainder of the season (check regulations for specifics). An “either-sex” deer is defined as, “a male or female animal of any age.”
Partnership announced to promote hunter behavior
It’s up to us. Respect access. Protect the hunt
In Montana, good relationships between hunters and landowners are integral to our opportunities, lead to proper wildlife management and ensure that our hunting traditions continue.
Landowners play an important role in sustaining healthy wildlife populations, contributing to our economy and communities by creating jobs, and providing valuable habitat and treasured open spaces. But the relationship between hunters and landowners can start to fray when just a few hunters abuse the privilege of hunting on private land.
To promote the importance of hunter ethics and improved hunter behavior, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is partnering with other conservation and agriculture organizations to “protect the hunt.”
The campaign is focused on hunter responsibility and respect for private land and the access landowners provide. The slogan is: It’s up to us. Respect access. Protect the hunt.
“Through programs like Block Management, Montana ranch families provide free public hunting experiences across the state. We ask sportsmen to remain diligent in their actions and to protect access by respecting the places they hunt and holding one another accountable,” said Jim Steinbeisser, Montana Stockgrowers Association President.
“While hunters in Montana enjoy a wealth of hunting opportunity on our public lands, private lands in the state offer irreplaceable hunting access and vital habitat for our public wildlife. But access to private lands is a privilege that can be swiftly taken away from us,” said Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Montana Coordinator Kevin Farron. “We must show the utmost respect for these properties and their owners, know – and follow – the rules, and thank landowners for providing access whenever we can.”
While excellent hunter behavior might be the norm in Montana, poor behavior, like not following landowner rules, trespassing, abusing access privileges, littering, and a host of other offenses, can lead to a decline in access opportunities. In fact, many hunters don’t know that not following rules for a block management area can result in a citation for hunting without landowner permission.
“We all know that most hunters do it the right way. That’s why it’s up to us,” said FWP Director Hank Worsech. “Improving hunter and landowner relationships by promoting hunting ethics will enhance the critical relationships between hunters and landowners and allow us to better manage wildlife. It’s good to see both hunters and landowners stepping forward to make it happen.”
Along with an outreach campaign, hunters and landowners can visit the FWP website for more information on hunting ethics, working with landowners, and to link to all the partners involved.
Submitted by Montana FWP