Secretary Zinke Directs Interior Bureaus to Take Aggressive Action to Prevent Wildfires

WASHINGTON– Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke directed all Department of the Interior bureaus, superintendents, and land managers at all levels to adopt more aggressive practices, using the full authority of the Department, to prevent and combat the spread of catastrophic wildfires through robust fuels reduction and pre-suppression techniques. 

This year-to-date, 47,700 wildfires have burned 8 million acres across the country, with the majority of the devastation in the states of California and Montana. High-profile fires in Yosemite and Glacier National Parks have caught national headlines, however millions of acres of forest and grassland have burned in recent months.

“This Administration will take a serious turn from the past and will proactively work to prevent forest fires through aggressive and scientific fuels reduction management to save lives, homes, and wildlife habitat. It is well settled that the steady accumulation and thickening of vegetation in areas that have historically burned at frequent intervals exacerbates fuel conditions and often leads to larger and higher-intensity fires,” said Secretary Zinke. “These fires are more damaging, more costly, and threaten the safety and security of both the public and firefighters. In recent fire reviews, I have heard this described as ‘a new normal.’ It is unacceptable that we should be satisfied with the status quo. We must be innovative and where new authorities are needed, we will work with our colleagues in Congress to craft management solutions that will benefit our public lands for generations to come.”

The Secretary is directing managers and superintendents of units that have burnable vegetation to address the threat of fire in all of their activities, and to use the full range of existing authorities, to reduce fuels.

Bryan Rice, Director of the Office of Wildland Fire, said, “It is critical to fully consider the benefits of fuels reduction in the everyday management activities that we carry out for our public land management objectives, such as clearing along roadsides, around visitor use areas like campgrounds and trails, near employee housing areas, and within administrative site areas subject to wildfire.”

The Department has lost historic structures in wildfires like Glacier National Park’s historic Sperry Chalet lodge. In an effort to help prevent future losses, the Secretary is also directing increased protection of Interior assets that are in wildfire prone areas, following the Firewise guidance, writing: “If we ask local communities to ‘be safer from the start’ and meet Firewise standards, we should be the leaders of and the model for ‘Firewise-friendly’ standards in our planning, development, and maintenance of visitor-service and administrative facilities.”

“I welcome Secretary Zinke’s new directive and his attention to the catastrophic fires taking place in many western states,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Treating our landscapes mitigates wildfire risk, increases firefighter safety, and makes our forests and rangelands healthy and resilient. We can no longer delay the implementation of this important work.” 

House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop said, “We must ensure our land management agencies have the tools and resources they need to protect communities and landscapes from catastrophic wildfire. Over the long term, Congress and the Administration must work together to reverse the sorry state of our federal forests and grasslands. I’m heartened to finally have an Administration that’s focused on actively managing and addressing the on-the-ground conditions that are contributing to our historic wildfire crisis. I hope to build on this by enacting comprehensive legislation to restore the health and resiliency of federal lands.”

“If we don’t start managing our forests, the forests are going to start managing us,” said Montana Senator Steve Daines.”The fires burning across Montana are a catastrophe, and we need all available resources to combat this threat. I applaud Secretary Zinke’s action to focus resources on attacking wildfires.”

“I applaud Secretary Zinke’s effort to thin the threat. If we can reduce the fuel loads in our forests and rangelands we will provide our fire fighters more defensible space to do their jobs,” said Idaho Senator James Risch. “We need bold actions like this not just for the hurricanes in the south and east but also to avert the devastation caused by the wildfires in the west.”

“More than 50 million acres in the United States are currently at risk for catastrophic wildfire. That is why we must act to prevent calamitous fires. Management actions taken by Secretary Zinke today will not completely stop the risk, but it is an important step forward in our fight to turn unhealthy, overgrown, and infested forests into thriving, healthy ecosystems,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman. “I commend Secretary Zinke for recognizing this emergency situation and taking steps to address prevent further loss of life and property due to these preventable, catastrophic wildfires. I am committed to working with him and my colleagues in Congress to find a permanent solution to this problem that emphasizes active forest management as the first line of defense against catastrophic wildfires.”

With Western Fire season reaching its natural peak in September, the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) elevated the National Fire Preparedness Level to “5”, the highest level NMAC declares, on August 10, 2017. Above normal major-fire activity continues to be observed across portions of the Pacific Northwest, Northern Rockies, northern Great Basin, and northern California. Fuel moisture levels and fire danger indices in these areas are at near-record to record levels for severity. Drier and warmer than average conditions across the central Great Basin and Southern California are allowing for the fine fuels to become more receptive to fire activity.

As powerful storms arrive, do your research before highway trips

With back-to-back snowstorms bearing down on Arizona, know what you’re driving into before heading to the high country.

Check az511.gov, ADOT social media, forecasts; be ready to delay travel

Highway conditions can deteriorate quickly during severe weather as snow accumulates and drivers struggle, and closures can happen suddenly and be prolonged. If enough snow falls, the Arizona Department of Transportation may close lesser-used highways while snowplows address busier routes.

Examples of the latter: If conditions warrant, ADOT may close US 180 northwest of Flagstaff, between milepost 224 west of Bader Road and milepost 248, and State Route 89A through Oak Creek Canyon (mileposts 386-397) to focus on Interstates 17 and 40 and other routes. In eastern Arizona, US 191 between Alpine and Hannagan Meadow (mileposts 231-253) isn’t plowed at night and on weekends.

ADOT’s nearly 200 snowplows and 400 certified snowplow drivers are ready to deal with snow and ice, and tips for driving around snow and ice are available at azdot.gov/KnowSnow. But the safest decision during extreme weather is delaying travel until conditions improve and letting ADOT’s plows do their work.

So do your research, including staying up to date on National Weather Service forecasts.

Before deciding whether to drive into areas where snow is expected or falling, motorists should get the latest on highway conditions and any closures from the ADOT Traveler Information Center, available at az511.gov or by calling 511. In addition, traffic cameras at az511.gov provide a view of conditions for those using desktop computers and laptops.

ADOT’s Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) and Facebook (facebook.com/AZDOT) accounts are excellent sources of information and interaction on traffic conditions.

In addition to doing your research, here are some other tips for driving in challenging winter weather:

  • Slow down: Adjust speed to conditions.
  • Create space: Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid sudden braking.
  • Give snowplows room: Slow down and stay at least four vehicle lengths behind a plow. Wait for a plow to pull over before passing. The safest place to be when there’s snow and ice on a road is behind a snowplow.
  • Leave prepared: Bring extra clothing and gloves, make sure the gas tank is half to three-quarters full at all times, keep cellphones charged, and pack extra drinking water, snacks and all necessary medications.
  • Pack an emergency kit: It should include blankets, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a small shovel, a container of sand or cat litter for traction and warning lights or reflectors.
  • Beware of black ice: Melting snow can turn into ice, especially at night. Ice tends to form on bridges first and can be difficult to see.

For more tips, visit azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

What To Do When a Snake Bites You on a Remote Trails?

Article by:Floris Gierman florisgierman@gmail.com

Below is a summary of things I’ve learned about first aid for snake bites after talking to the Snake Bite Poison Line (1-800-222-1222 available 24/7), after doing my own online research and after posting my snake questions on Reddit Running. The best info came from Jordan Benjamin, a herpetologist specialized in venomous snakes. I’m just sharing this info because it might help you one day:

  • No first aid is much better than performing bad first aid. Don’t cut at or around the site of the bite, don’t compress the bitten limb with a cord or tight bandage, don’t attempting to extract or neutralize venom using electricity, fire, permanganate, salt, black stones, mouths, mud, leaves, etc.
  • All Snake Bite Kits are dangerous and should not be used. This was also confirmed by the Snake Bite Poison Line.
  • A lot of snake bite patients injure themselves by panicking directly after a snake bite, by tripping over a rock or tree trunk, or by falling off the side of the trail. Staying calm is important! After a snake bite, walk about 20-30 feet away from the snake.
  • Find a safe place to sit down asap. The venom can rapidly diffuse into your system, this can drop your blood pressure too low to pump all the way to your head while standing. Sitting down reduces your chance of fainting within the first few minutes. If you faint, it shouldn’t be more than a few minutes.
  • Remove any rings, watches, tight clothing and anything else from the bitten limb, because the swelling will make it a lot bigger soon.
  • Take 5 minutes to calm down and plan your evacuation. The only effective treatment for a snake envenomation is the right anti-venom to neutralize it.
  • Do not wait for symptoms to appear if bitten. It’s important to get in touch with emergency personnel as soon as possible to get you to a hospital. If you have a cell phone and service, great, call 911 or the Park Ranger. If there is no service, think about the last time you had phone service.
  • A sharpie can be a great help for emergency personnel to assess the severity of your snakebite. Circle the location of your snake bite and write down the time next to it. Draw a circle around the border of the swelling and write down the time. Write down all the things you’re experiencing that are not normal, with the time next to it. Examples are: metallic taste in your mouth, changes to sense of smell, sudden loss of vision, double vision, visual disturbances, ringing in the ears, headache, nausea and vomiting, bleeding from anywhere, dizziness, shortness of breath, etc. The most common signs and symptoms are pain and swelling.
  • Update this info every 15 or 30 minutes as the swelling moves up the limb and your symptoms develop.
  • Make contact via cell phone. If this is not possible, walk slowly to get help. Drink some water and take some calories if you have any. Some snake bite victims walk several miles after serious snake bites to their legs. They make it out fine because they made it out to medical care. This is much better than waiting for help if you can’t reach anyone. Don’t let the fear of “raising your heart rate and increasing the speed of venom circulation” prevent you from moving to get to care. Be very cautious about driving yourself to a hospital, since some bites have serious side effects that could suddenly limit your ability to drive.

Preventing a snake bite is obviously better than dealing with a snake bite. Here are a few ways to reduce the risks of snake bites while trail running:

  • Be aware that there could be snakes where you’re running.
  • Watch where you’re placing your feet, be extra aware on rocky, sunny areas, pockets of leaves and logs across the trail. If you’re off trail, the odds go up because there are more rocks and cracks and less people to scare the snakes away. Watch out when running through tall grass and weeds.
  • Step on a rock or log, not over it. This way you can spot a snake that may be sheltering under it and take action quickly.
  • Watch out when sitting down on a rock or tree stump, you might be sitting on a snake.
  • Don’t try to chase the snake off the trail, this is why most people get bit by snakes.
  • Don’t run with headphones on trails, or have at least 1 earbud out.
  • Snakes tend to be near water, especially if it’s in a dry environment. If you’re near a spring or river, keep an extra eye out.
  • Since snakes are cold-blooded, they’d like to come out when it’s warm and sun themselves on rocky areas or trails. They like to be on the edge of a sunny patch. If you come across a sunny patch, your encounter chances increase.
  • Most venomous snakes in the US rest during the day. The chances of running into one are higher in the mornings and early evenings, when their activity might be a bit higher.
  • In the spring, after snakes have hibernated together, the frequency of sightings goes up. In the fall, when they retreat to a hiding place to spend the cold winter months, they are on the go, so higher chances to encounter a snake. Most snake bites occur between April and October.

Things to bring on your trail runs that help with a snake bite: • Phone • Sharpie

Getting bitten by a snake can be deadly, especially if you’re on your own on a remote trail. The following story is a good explanation of how a snake bite would feel: I Should Be Dead. Each year, about 8,000 venomous snake bites occur in the US and about 5 of those people die. You’ve got a good chance of survival if you seek medical attention immediately.

To summarize: try to stay calm, sit down, remove anything tight, document your situation, contact help

Article by:Floris Gierman florisgierman@gmail.com

http://www.flotography.com/what-to-do-when-a-snake-bites-you-on-a-remote-trail/ 

Interior Department to Announce $8 Million for Tribal Climate Change Adaptation and Planning Projects

Adaptation Funding to Help Strengthen Resilience for Communities
on the Front Lines of a Changing Climate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to prepare communities nationwide for the impacts of a changing climate, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the Interior Department will make available $8 million to fund projects that promote tribal climate change adaptation and ocean and coastal management planning through its Tribal Climate Resilience Program.

Sea level rise, coastal erosion, drought and more frequent and severe weather events are impacting Alaska Native villages and American Indian tribal communities across the nation,” said Secretary Jewell. “As governments at all levels work on these challenges, we are committed to partnering with American Indians and Alaska Natives to build more resilient and sustainable communities and economies. This funding can help tribes prepare and plan for climate-related events and build capacity to address these evolving challenges.”

No one is impacted by climate change more than Native communities in Alaska, but we have also seen serious problems developing for tribal communities across the West and on both coasts. We must act to help protect these communities,” said Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn. “The cultural and economic needs of tribes are tied to the land and protecting that land is a critical component of advancing tribal sovereignty and self-determination.”

Of the $8 million, $4 million will be available for Climate Adaptation Planning and another $4 million for Ocean/Coastal Management Planning. Funding will support tribal climate adaptation planning, training, and participation in technical workshops and forums. In addition, funding will support coastal tribes in addressing the challenges of coastal erosion and development, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and emergency management.

The $8 million in tribal climate resilience funds will build on the nearly $2.3 million previously awarded last December to more than 40 federally recognized tribes and tribally chartered organizations to support tribal climate preparedness and resilience activities. The awards included more than $100,000 to benefit 22 Alaska Native villages, tribes and cooperative associations. The full list of awardees is available here.

As part of Executive Order 13653 of November 1, 2013, all federal departments and agencies are expanding efforts to help tribes, states, cities and localities prepare for the impacts of climate change. To comply with this Executive Order, the Secretary of the Interior’s Tribal Climate Resilience Program responds to the Recommendations and Supplemental Recommendations of the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and helps to implement President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. A key part of the Climate Action Plan is to build more resilient communities, and strengthen defenses for community’s already on the front lines of a changing climate.

Furthermore, the President’s proposed budget for FY 2016 includes $137 million to prepare communities and ecosystems for the challenges of a changing climate. Included in this request is $50 million to support competitive resilience projects in coastal areas. The budget also proposes to expand the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Tribal Climate Resilience Program to specifically address the changing Arctic landscape and offer support to Alaska Native Villages and other critically vulnerable communities in evaluating options for the long-term resilience of their communities. Additional funding is requested in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to increase understanding of the Changing Arctic and the linkages between climate, glaciers and impacts to the people who live there.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) will be available in the coming days and requests for the application can be sent to climate.funding@bia.gov or to the attention of Helen Riggs, Deputy Bureau Director, Office of Trust Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1849 C St., N.W., MS-4620-MIB, and Washington, D.C. 20240.

The Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs oversees the BIA, which is headed by a director who is responsible for managing day-to-day operations through four offices – Indian Services, Justice Services, Trust Services and Field Operations. These offices directly administer or funds tribally based infrastructure, law enforcement, social services, tribal governance, natural and energy resources, and trust lands and resources management programs for the nation’s federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages through 12 regional offices and 81 agencies.

Governor Brewer Issues Declaration of Emergency in Response to Statewide Flooding

PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer today declared a State of Emergency in response to record flooding in Arizona.

On September 8, 2014, powerful rains combined with remnants of Hurricane Norbert caused record precipitation and flooding throughout Arizona. The storms resulted in significant impacts to transportation infrastructure throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area in Maricopa County, including the closure of State Route 51, Interstate 10 and 17 and U.S. Route 60. The heavy rains also threatened lives, caused residential damages, forced evacuations in La Paz County and required emergency response search and rescue missions, including the American Red Cross opening shelters in Maricopa and La Paz Counties. The threat of flooding remains high due to heavily saturated soils and the anticipation of additional waves of precipitation.

Governor Brewer is authorized under to A.R.S. § 26-303(D) to declare a State of Emergency to provide financial support for eligible response and recovery costs.  Maricopa and La Paz Counties have declared a state of emergency and are requesting the state’s financial assistance to recover from the flooding. The Governor’s Declaration:

a. Declares that a State of Emergency exists in Maricopa and La Paz Counties due to flooding, effective September 8, 2014; and

b. Acknowledges that this weather system is still passing through the State of Arizona, and will be amended to include additional counties as the situation requires; and

c. Directs that the sum of $200,000 from the general fund be made available to the Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management; and

d. Directs that the State of Arizona Emergency Response and Recovery Plan be used to direct and control state and other assets and authorize the Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management to coordinate state assets; and

e. Authorizes the Adjutant General to mobilize and call to activate all or such part of the Arizona National Guard as is determined necessary to assist in the protection of life and property throughout the State.        

Preliminary damage assessments will be scheduled by the Arizona Department of Emergency Management’s Recovery Office in conjunction with the counties, as requested. Response costs and damage to public infrastructure have not yet been estimated by the counties.

Visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network website – www.AzEIN.gov – for emergency updates, preparedness and hazard information, and multimedia resources.

Flagstaff Police Harass Activists as ‘Preventative Maintenance’ Before Dew Downtown Event

Free Speech Protest Zone Created at ‘Unsustainable’ Urban Snowboard Event

FLAGSTAFF, AZ — Armed plain-clothed City of Flagstaff cops showed up at a community member’s home and at a community center yesterday. The officers, Kevin Rued and Eric Greenwald, stated that they were doing “preventative maintenance” and that they’re going to “have the entire front grassy area of the courthouse roped off specifically for protestors” as a free speech zone at the City of Flagstaff and Snowbowl sponsored Dew Downtown event.

Critics of the event have stated that, “more than 300,000 gallons of drinking water for fake snow at a recreational event sends the wrong message when we live in the high desert and we’re facing a water shortage. Dew Downtown is contrary to the values of sustainability that the City of Flagstaff proclaims.”

James Kennedy, a community member who has been involved with efforts to protect the San Francisco Peaks was alarmed by the visit, “It’s chilling & terrifying. Armed men showed up at my house, I didn’t know if I was going to jail yesterday morning.”

Flagstaff police officer Kevin Rued made it clear that the visit was, “because of snowbowl and the making of snow…”
“…our supervisors were saying that they got information from off of Facebook or Twitter…that people were going to chain themselves and cause this huge disruption.” stated officer Rued.

Mr. Kennedy questioned why he was being targeted and not Snowbowl supporters who have been known to be violent. He mentioned an incident at Dew Downtown last year when a drunk Snowbowl supporter attacked two Indigenous children. Mr. Kennedy stated, “It looks bad when police come to check in on us when at the last Dew Downtown the only thing that happened was the pro-Snowbowl lady came and attacked my friends.”

Kevin Rued responded that he knew of the incident, “I think somebody got beat up.”

At last year’s Dew Downtown a Snowbowl supporter rushed into a circle of protesters and assaulted two young Diné boys, both 11 & 13 years old, who were singing and drumming. After punching at them, she grabbed at the drums and tried to break them.

Police initially refused to charge the assailant.

However, those present were insistent that she be charged and ultimately the prosecutors office agreed to pursue charges. After a year in court, she took a plea deal the led to probation, thousands of dollars in fines and restitution, and classes in anger management.

About 150 people have signed up on a Facebook event organized to boycott Dew Downtown calling it “an unsustainable and irresponsible use of Flagstaff’s precious drinking water.”
Boycott organizers state reasons to boycott the event include:

  • More than 300,000 gallons of drinking water for fake snow is unsustainable.
  • It is unseasonably warm & Flagstaff is anticipating a drought,
  • Arizona Snowbowl, a major sponsor, threatens public & environmental health, and violates human rights of Indigenous Peoples by desecrating the San Francisco Peaks with treated sewage snowmaking,

At Dew Downtown in 2013, two native children were attacked by a drunk racist Snowbowl supporter. The City of Flagstaff has ignored this hate crime.The boycott organizers state, “Flagstaff has so much more to offer than unsustainable & disrespectful recreation.”

Using water of any kind to make snow has been a contentious issue over the years. More than 50 arrests have been made since Arizona Snowbowl started expanding development to make snow from contaminated treated sewage on the San Francisco Peaks. The protests were all peaceful actions to stop the environmental destruction & desecration of the mountain which is held holy by 13 Indigenous Nations.

On August 7th, 2011, Flagstaff police aggressively attacked a peaceful march through downtown Flagstaff. Six people were arrested with some tackled by law enforcement agents without provocation. Five of those arrested then had their charges dropped, only one person had made a plea deal.

For more information: www.protectthepeaks.org.

US 191 project in Chinle is put on winter shutdown

A project to widen and repave a 1.3 mile segment
of US 191 in Chinle has been put on winter shutdown according to the Arizona
Department of Transportation.

The $3.6 million project to widen and resurface
the roadway, construct sidewalks, curb and gutter and install new street lights
will not start up again until temperatures get warmer in the spring. Some
paving and sidewalk removal has already been done, but the majority of the
project will be completed next year.

For more information about this project, please
call the ADOT Project Hotline at 1.855.712.8530 or email Projects@azdot.gov

Navajo President Shelly Assures People Navajo Nation is Responding to Flood Emergencies

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said the Navajo Nation is responding to flash flooded areas throughout the Navajo Nation.

“Though we are thankful for the rain we have received, I want our people to know that the Navajo Nation programs and departments are responding to calls regarding flash flooding. Please be careful and don’t drive or cross flooded roadways. We want everyone to make through the rains safely,” President Shelly said.

President Shelly has been getting regular updates about flooded communities throughout the week.

Since July nearly 60 chapters have reported to the Navajo Department of Emergency seeking assistance for damages occurred as a result of flooding. Issues have been from road washouts, road closures, rescue operations, shelter for flood victims and road clearing.

President Shelly signed a declaration of emergency in August regarding the flooding and plans are to update the declaration for recent flood events.

“We need everyone to exercise caution and be alert to their surroundings. Though it might not be raining in your area, it can be raining in areas upstream,” said Navajo Department of Emergency Management Director Rose Whitehair.

Whitehair added that it is difficult to predict what areas would experience flash flooding since most of the flooding happens after short bursts of intense rain.

“And with the long term drought, the ground is hard so there is no where for the water to go,” Whitehair said.

Since Monday, nearly 50 chapters have called for assistance in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Chinle was hardest hit by the floods as 22 people had to be evacuated from their homes. The flood continued downstream to Many Farms and Rock Point where another 40 people were either evacuated or rescued. In Tonalea, Ariz, officials reported that 20 homes were damaged due to flooding.

“I want our people to know we are working with several different agencies to ensure that our people are safe and their basic needs are met,” President Shelly said.

County and state emergency departments have all been coordinating efforts with the Navajo Department of Emergency Management along with the Red Cross, the Hopi Tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“I want to thank all the first responders and agencies for working together. I know you are all working hard but remember the work you are doing is for the good of all the people in need. We are a strong nation and we will endure through these difficult times,” President Shelly said.

Navajo DEM and chapters are working according to a declaration of emergency that President Shelly signed in August.

Navajo President Shelly Says be Prepared for Severe Weather

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said people throughout the Navajo Nation need to be prepared to unexpected weather during the monsoon season.

“We have to be prepared for all weather that may come our way. This is the year we usually experience rains. But since we’ve been in a drought, the ground is harder making it less likely to soak up any water. That creates the opportunities for flash flooding. Though we are thankful for all the rain we receive, we must respect the power of water,” President Shelly said.

During this past weekend, the Department of Emergency coordinated efforts to respond to nearly a dozen areas of flooding in different parts of the Navajo Nation.

“Chapters are being asked to assist families. We ask that citizens to be aware of their weather and surroundings. Please be cautious of standing water that may look like it’s not deep; utility crews may not have been able to get to energized power lines that are fallen,” President Shelly said.

Navajo DEM Director Rose Whitehair said that chapters need to be involved in responding to weather emergencies.

“It is extremely critical that chapters list their emergency call and cell phone numbers posted on their closed doors for weekend emergencies. Tribal citizens, Department of Public Safety and CHR’s were desperately trying to contact chapter officials to set up shelters this past weekend but were not able to, due to the fact that no one could be found,” Whitehair said.

“We need to work together. We work for the people of the Navajo Nation and we have to be accountable and responsive in times of need,” President Shelly said.

Here is a list of tips to help preparedness for severe weather:

  • Be alert to weather conditions. Stay tuned to your local radio station for weather information.
  • During high winds stay away from windows. Take shelter in a solid structure.
  • Communities need to identify shelters during high winds and harsh weather for residents of the area.
  •  If there is flooding in your community, stay out of the area. Do not cross flooded roads, arroyos or bridges. Watch your children and make sure they do not play in standing water or flowing flood waters. Small and large debris is carried by flowing flood waters. Flood waters are contaminated.
  • Navajo Tribal Utility Authority cautions against spectators at repair operations due to safety concerns for the public.
  • Report all weather damages to the chapter administration first. They will contact the Emergency Operations Center for follow-up, if needed.

Navajo President Shelly Signs $3 Million Bill for Drought Relief

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly signed a bill that provides $3 million for drought relief for the Navajo Nation. He signed the measure Thursday afternoon.

“We need to get help out there to the communities. We declared an emergency because of the drought, now we need to make resources available to help our people. We are in difficult times and thankful for the recent rains, but we still have to create plans to manage the drought,” President Shelly said.

Legislation CJY-44-13 provides about $1.4 million to the Department of Agriculture for feral horse round ups, and $202,761 to the Department of Resource Enforcement and the remainder to the Navajo Department of Water Resources for well and windmill repairs.

This legislation is similar to the one President Shelly vetoed early this month because of budget technicalities.

“As a leader, I must adhere to the laws of the Navajo Nation. I support drought relief, and I am thankful that we could work through the laws of our Nation to provide much needed resources to our Navajo departments and Rangers,” President Shelly said.

The money will come from the Undesignated Unreserved Fund Balance.

On July 1, President Shelly declared an emergency because of drought conditions throughout the Navajo Nation.

According to tribal precipitation statistics, Western Agency is about 65 percent below normal precipitation amounts this year, while Fort Defiance Agency is about 63 percent below normal. Northern and Eastern Agency are about 55 percent below average, while Chinle Agency is about 30 percent below average precipitation levels.

President Shelly also signed a memorandum ordering all executive departments to help update and revise a drought management plan.

“We are going to help our people through these tough times. I know it’s difficult with little vegetation for our livestock and small yielding crops. We are strong people and we will persevere through these challenging times,” President Shelly said.