Ice Jam on Gallatin River near Big Sky

GCEM Media Release HeaderMedia Release:  141231-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 599-7881

Ice Jam on Gallatin River near Big Sky

Big Sky, MT – An ice jam has developed on the Gallatin River in the area of US191 and Lone Mountain Trail (MT64/ Spur Road).  This blockage has recently opened up allowing water to flow more freely, however it is very possible the river will become blocked again.  People down river (North) of Big Sky who are near the river should utilize caution and stay clear of the river channel.  Ice jams are capable of quickly breaching which results in a sudden lease of water and debris that can be dangerous to those in the way.  Recreational users are encourage to stay clear of the river channel and utilize caution when in the area.

Water has begun flooding out of the river channel upriver of the jam in the area of Frenchman Road.  Residents in the affected area are encouraged to take actions to protect their property before flooding occurs.  Once a property has been affected by flooding, it is often too late to adequately protect it.  If you think you may be affected by flooding, you should prepare now.

In 2012 the release of an ice jam was caught on video along the Gallatin River.  This video is available on YouTube at

Photos of Gallatin River on 12/31/14 at 16:00 hrs

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 Photos & Video Courtesy of Bill Farhat, Big Sky Fire Department


(Gallatin County, Mont.). Friday at 1:40 p.m. it was reported to Bridger Bowl ski patrol that a 13 year old male from Livingston had skied out of bounds and was missing. He was last seen coming off Schlasman’s lift and exiting the boundary area to the south. Members of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue already in the area created a hasty search team and began tracking the male’s route. He had made his way back to the resort at about 1:30. Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind skiers to ski with a partner, know the area you will be in, ski within your limits and always be aware of the avalanche danger which can be checked at ###

A Little Christmas Present for Skiers


(Gallatin County, Mont.)  The pair of cross county skiers that Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers located during the night made it out about 5:00 this morning.  The 2 locals had planned on spending 3 days at the Fox Creek cabin.  After spending all day skiing into the area south of Bozeman they were unable to locate the notoriously difficult- to-find Forest Service rental chateau.  With darkness, a snow storm and exhaustion descending on them, they set up camp about a quarter mile short of their destination.  This is where the Sheriff comes into our story.  The young woman travels internationally and luckily was equipped with a satellite location and limited messaging device known as a SPOT.  Her mother received text messages from the device and got conflicting “I’m Ok” followed by “help” texts starting at about 5:30 last night.  The family has a plan and protocol when she travels internationally but did not have a plan for this circumstance.  Sheriff Gootkin states “Being a parent, it is understandable–you get a help message from your daughter, even when you think it could be a mistake, what do you do? You try to help her.  That’s where we come in.  About 15 rescuers worked through the night because that is what they do.  In Gallatin County we have had only 3 or 4 SPOT help activations in the last several years; most were not intentional.  We are glad this story ended happily. This is an opportunity for us to remind people to take some time and fully understand the safety devices they have and to make sure the people that are getting the messages know what the messages mean and how you plan to confirm the status.”  He added “get out and enjoy the fresh snow today and make sure to thank a SAR volunteer if you see them.”

Christmas Eve Search for Skiers


Update: at 12:30 A.M. Rescue Skiers checked the cabin and found it unoccupied.  A short time later they located the two subjects of the search.  They were uninjured.  They were located near where the SPOT beacon gave as a last location about 6:00 P.M. approximately 5 miles south of the South Cottonwood trail head.  Because of the difficult communications in that area the exact details of their circumstance will not be know until later.  Rescuers are assisting the two with packing their gear and will be escorting them out of the area and back to their vehicle at the trail head.


(Gallatin County, Mont.) Tonight at about 6:00 p.m. Sheriff’s Search and Rescue units were dispatched to the area of Fox Creek south of Bozeman.  The mother of a 22 year old Bozeman woman had received an emergency message for her daughter’s SPOT beacon.  Her daughter and a 23 year old male companion left the S. Cottonwood trail head this morning at 7:00 A.M. with the intent of spending 3 days at the Fox Creek Forest Service Cabin.  The SPOT beacon indicated that their location was within a 1/2 mile of the cabin.  Currently it is snowing but temperatures remain in the 20s.  Rescuers including 4 snowmobiles transporting 3 skiers to the top of Langhor ridge where the skiers will then access the Fox Creek area.  Once in the area they will attempt to make contact with the party and verify the emergency and provide assistance if needed.  Further updates will be posed on this page but will not create a new notification.  Check for any updates.

Gasoline Tanker fire on High St, Belgrade

At 5:15 PM there was a report of a fire at or around High st in Belgrade.  The initial report was that it was a large grass fire.  Central Valley units responded and found that a fuel tanker type vehicle and an above ground fuel tank were fully involved with fire.  The inital units from Central Valley Fire district made contact with the driver of the fuel tanker.  He recieved 1st and 2nd degree burns on his hands and face and was transported to BDH by AMR. 

21 fire apparatus resoponded through mutual aid agreements with 45+ fire fighters.  Water was shuttled to the fire by vehicle tenders and the fire was called under control at 6:40.  Crews are currently mopping up small exposure fires in the area.  A formal news release will be given at the corner of 4 Dot subdivision and frontage road at 8:00.