September 9, 2011

MHA fire fighters work across the nation

MHA fire fighters work across the nation
By Jerry W. Kram

The first duty of the Three Affiliated Tribes Fire Management (TATFM) program is to protect the half million acres of the Fort Berthold Reservation. However, when conditions on the reservation allow, and the needs are great elsewhere, firefighters of the MHA Nation travel the country to assist federal firefighters battling wildfires from coast to coast.
This year, TATFM officers have battled blazes in Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and Georgia, said Fire Management specialiest Noel Baker. He added that he has made his men available in case they are needed to fight the massive fires now consuming Texas. Baker said for as long as he can remember, Native American crews have gone to fight fires across the country.
“It’s not just Texas either,” Marle Baker said. “It’s New Mexico, Arizona, California – that whole southern tier of states are drier than a bone.”
TATFM carries out fire management for the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. That is why whenever other federal or state agencies need help battling wildfires, firefighters from Fort Berthold can find themselves on a plane across the country.
“You have all these different agencies, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and others, they have an agreement that if one has a big fire they can call for help,” Noel Baker said.

The Weather Network