Walt Lamar: Preparing for an emergency before the emergency

"Is your tribal community fully prepared for an emergency related to wildfire or flooding? No matter where your community is located this year’s weather has likely put you at some level of risk.

When a fire flared up on August 2 near Lame Deer, Montana, residents of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation had been hard at work cleaning up damage from the fires that destroyed 325,000 acres and 38 structures in June and July. 50 mile-per-hour winds blew the fire out of control quickly, giving residents little time to evacuate. Some residents who got stranded due to highway closures never received an evacuation order. Many barely escaped the out-of-control flames.

It bears repeating that the hottest weather on record combined with a crippling drought has created tinder dry wildfire conditions throughout Indian country. As of this writing, 60 fires are raging throughout the country, with active fires on tribal lands in Montana (again), Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. As residents of Santa Ana Pueblo in New Mexico are discovering, when the rains finally do come, they bring catastrophic flooding of the burned areas and degradation of surface water from ash and increased sediment."

Get the Story:
Walt Lamar: It’s Too Late to Prepare for an Emergency During an Emergency (Indian Country Today 9/2)

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