Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION The wildfire that crossed onto the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation from Nebraska late Friday afternoon has been contained, but not 100 percent contained, according to the Oglala Sioux Tribe President's Office, which released update late Sunday night.
Wellnitz South fire on the Pine Ridge Reservation
The good news is there have been no casualties and only two homes have been destroyed by the fire that as of Sunday night burned an estimated 27,000 acres of land on the reservation. The wildfire, now known as the Wellnitz South fire, entered the reservation on a northern pattern. The two destroyed homes were located in Slim Buttes, South Dakota.
The small fires burning on Sunday night were located in the southwest portion of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Fire fighters continue to monitor and extinguish the fires as they flare up. This area is mostly grassland with few homes in the vicinity; therefore, there has been no evacuation of the homes in the area.
Cis Big Crow of the Tribal President's Office is serving as the Tribal Red Cross designee for the fire relief. She stated:
The Red Cross organization provides temporary assistance for three days worth of lodging, food and clothing. These families have lost all their belongings; so this temporary assistance will not meet all their needs. They will need a home replacement. In addition, they will need household items, additional food supplies and clothing.
Big Crow asks that you contact the President's Office, who will then assist the impacted families.
Residents in seven community were evacuated on Friday, which include: Slim Buttes, Red Cloud, Calico, Payabaya, Lakeside, Loneman and Oglala.
The Air National Guard Arrived Sunday with 3 Planes
and 2 Blackhawk Helicopters.
Soon after the wildfire crossed onto the reservation on Friday, Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Yellow Bird Steele proclaimed a State of Emergency. By Sunday, the Tribe was notified from the Region VIII of the US Department of Homeland Security that a FEMA Fire Management Grant has been approved for Shannon County, one of the three counties where the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is situated.
“I am very glad that were about to qualify for a FEMA declaration,”
commented Wayne Weston, tribal emergency manager of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, late Sunday.
We will have a Type 2 Strike Team coming in from Colorado to aid us, and to provide much needed relief to the teams working here since Friday. Today, the Air National Guard arrived here to help us. They have three planes and two Blackhawks dispatched which has been a tremendous help,
The State of Emergency signed by President Yellow Bird Steele is the third such proclamation he has issued since July 2012, relating to natural disasters. The first one was for prolonged drought on the reservation; the second was for storms that struck in July.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe has set up a Donation Account at the First National Bank of Gordon, Nebraska. If you are willing to donate, please make your donation to: Oglala Sioux Tribe/Wellnitz North Fire.
posted September 3, 2012 8:40 am edt