In early June, the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office released a new cellphone application to connect the public with information. Sheriff Chris Hoffman says the app has proved extremely useful during recent catastrophes.

"The feedback has been great," Hoffman said. "I think the app is being used widely and, of course now, having the application through two fires in the Bitterroot that impacted residents, with evacuation notices out and we were needing to get information out quickly... we could not have done better in terms of getting that information out."

Information about stage 1 and stage 2 evacuations were posted immediately on the map during both the Observation Fire and the Roaring Lion Fire. Hoffman says the media’s ability to use the app has also helped the community.

"It allowed us to get information out to the media, to the press, in a much faster way, especially radio press, to immediately get on the air and get the word out," Hoffman said. "I think it helped a lot. I think it made a difference to people during the Roaring Lion Fire. We think its been a very important addition to our toolkit in terms of helping our community."

For those that don’t have the app yet, it can be found on most smartphones by searching for “Ravalli County Sheriff” in the app store.

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