Fire and Fire Prevention

WILDLAND FIRE

Wildland fire on tribal lands is managed by the White Earth Tribal Forestry program. Most of the forestry employees are also trained in wildland firefighting. There are six full time employees and three part time employees. Several temporary employees are hired during the spring and sometimes dry summer or fall fire seasons. The White Earth Reservation usually has a fairly active fire season as when the snow melts, the grasses and small fuels are very dry.  The spring fire season usually begins in early April and continues into May until the fuels “green up”. The fire program manages 5 fire engines, one J-5 Bombardier, an ATV with a small pump, and a UTV 6-wheeler with a 75 gallon pump. After the spring fire season, firefighters are then called out to major fires all over the country. These opportunities are a very good source of income for our local firefighters and gives the White Earth Reservation fire crew a good reputation nationally.

 

 

Past Wildfire Occurrences

  

Year

# Fires on Tribal Lands

# Fires on Private Lands

# Acres

2001

54

17

516

2002

101

32

679

2003

156

76

1,996

2004

133

2

783

2005

65

27

127

2006

125

8

624

2007

74

24

223

2008

89

1

140

2009

78

32

151

2010

148

72

265

 

Click here to view maps of wildland fire occurances on the reservation:

NAYTAHWAUSH   

PINE POINT

RESERVATION

RICE LAKE

WHITE EARTH

  

Click here to view current fire danger and fire restrictions:

 

Prescribe Fire

Prescribed fires are conducted to reduce hazardous fuels, reduce noxious weeds, and improve wildlife habitat. The fire crew does prescribed fires around the communities as soon as the conditions will allow. These fires are done to get rid of the hazardous fuels around the housing areas making them safe. Some of these burns are very difficult as they are around houses, woodpiles, propane tanks, etc. Prairie burns are done in later April to reduce noxious weeds and to promote native grasses found in this area.

 

 Spruce slash burn near Big Rat Lake

 

 

 Prairie burn north of Naytahwaush

 

 

 Prairie burn near Roy Lake 

 

HAZARDOUS FUEL REDUCTION

Hazardous fuel is any kind of living or dead vegetation that is flammable. Fuels management activities take place either in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), or outside of it. The WUI is essentially where wildland fuels begin to interface with urbanized areas. Most emphasis is now on managing activities in the WUI. These activities are of primary focus because reducing hazardous fuels around the urban interface increases public and firefighter safety, and reduces the risk of unwanted wildfire to communities. Prescribed fire and mechanical treatments are used to reduce this hazardous fuel. Several of these treatments have been done on the reservation throughout the years.

                         Before                                                                After

 

FIRE PREVENTION

Wildfire prevention and education is a very important part of wildfire management. The fire prevention program provides training and guidance to help develop strategies that deal with human caused fires on the reservation. Prevention Program staff work closely with community leaders and schools to raise public awareness regarding human caused ignitions. They also conduct fire investigations and work with appropriate law enforcement to provide leadership in fire trespass cases. Arson is the number one cause of wildfires in Indian Country today. The BIA and Tribes are especially concerned about this and work hard to deal with this issue. One tool that has been in use since 1997 is WeTip. WeTip is a national non-profit organization that provides a 24-hour telephone tip hotline (1-800-47ARSON) to individuals who can provide valuable information while remaining entirely anonymous. Tribal publics are encouraged to report any information they may have regarding wildfires that may involve criminal activity. The anonymous tip information may provide names and description of potential suspects that appropriate law enforcement officers or local fire investigators can follow up on.

The BIA has chosen this program because it provides Indian Country with:

  • Anonymity. Callers always remain anonymous and can trust law enforcement personnel to act on the information in a timely and confidential fashion.
  • An opportunity. Local witnesses may take responsibility for their homelands without fear of retaliation or lack of trust with local authorities.
  • A deterrent for criminal behavior.

As an incentive to report suspicious behavior associated with wildfires, the BIA provides a financial reward up to $10,000 for information that leads to proper adjudication. For more information about the WeTip program, visit www.WeTip.com.

 

If you or anyone you know has information

pertaining to suspicious wildfires occurring on

Indian Lands, please call 1-800-472-7766

24 hours a day, 365 days a year to report

your information confidentially.

 

Arson is not a part of Indian Culture; it is a crime against

Indian people.