FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I find out if my property is in the Floodplain and could be at risk for flooding?

There are several ways to find out if your property or a property you are considering purchasing is in the AE flood zone.

In Three Forks there are 3 main "zones" on our flood map,  X, X-shaded and AE.  X and X shaded the property is above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for that area.  X is higher above the BFE than X shaded is.  Zone AE is considered within the 100 year floodplain or has a 1% chance of flooding in any year.  If the property is within this zone, a lender will require you to have Flood Insurance on it, as there is a greater risk that it will flood than a property in one of the other 2 zones.  Three Forks City Hall, at 206 Main Street, Three Forks, MT, has the 2 Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) that encompass the City of Three Forks.  These maps can also be see on the FEMA Website.

At City Hall we also have an extensive book of Elevation Certificates for properties in Three Forks.  We do not have one for every property in town, but anytime an elevation certificate is done we try to get a copy either from the Engineer/Surveyor, or the property owner.  The elevation certificate is used to show how the property compares (above or below) to the BFE.  We also have information brochures (also at the Three Forks Library), computerized tools (some are linked on this webpage), and flood history that can be useful.  An elevation certificate is used by insurance agents to help determine the cost of flood insurance for a property. 

Why do I require Flood Insurance when a house 2 doors down does not?

It is all determined by the elevation of your property as compared tot the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).  The BFE is not a constant number thru out the town.  It increase or decrease based on the properties relation to the possible flooding source.  

I don't have a basement. Do I still require Flood Insurance?

That depends on which Zone you are in.  If the top of your lowest floor is below the Base Flood Elevation (Includes Crawl spaces) your property would most likely still require Flood Insurance, by a lender.  Having a basement or not, does not create the requirement for Flood Insurance, the elevation of the property does.

What is the most likely cause of a flood in the City of Three Forks?

The most probable cause of a flood in the City of Three Forks would come from an ice jam on the Jefferson River, and as a result of snowmelt and/or rainfall runoff.  We are surrounded by water, mainly rivers, with that comes the risk of them overflowing and flooding the area.  There has not been a significant flood in the City of Three Forks since 1948. 

I would like to improve my flood protection and lower my flood insurance costs, but I do not know where to start?

Along with the local Floodplain Administrator at City Hall, there are other resources available. Once you come into City Hall and discuss your situation with Kelly Smith, it can be determined if we need to get others involved. We can go to the property and see what your options might be. Then we can instruct you to what your next step might be. Either calling in a local land surveyor that can let us know where you are in the AE zone (if no Elevation Certificate has been done) and is you can improve your drainage around the building, or have the State's Regional Engineer, come down and give his help. There are retrofitting options, available to help lower insurance costs, and we can help you apply for mitigation grants or other sources of funding to help.