Governor Steve Bullock today issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency on the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, and Northern Cheyenne reservations and in Glacier and Golden Valley Counties.
“The safety and security of Montanans must be our top priority. During these challenging winter conditions, we have been and will continue to communicate with local and tribal officials and offer state resources however necessary,” said Governor Steve Bullock.
This declaration is in response to extreme cold and blizzard conditions with drifting snow that have created extraordinary conditions impacting most of Northwestern and Southeastern Montana.
The Montana State Emergency Coordination Center (SECC) began preparations and assistance for this winter storm event last week. The SECC has been in close coordination with the Incident Commander at the Blackfeet Tribe and a District Field Officer has been deployed to Browning as a resource for the Incident Commander. In addition, the Montana Department of Transportation is making available as many resources to the area as possible, including equipment and mechanics.
Governor Bullock also issued an executive order for an extension of hours of operation for fuel delivery statewide, to ensure that needed fuel can be made available to Northwestern Montana.
The Blackfeet Tribe has established an Incident Command structure to manage the incident, field calls, and assist community members. One semi-load of food and two shipments of firewood have been donated and are available for distribution by the Tribe. The shelter in Browning remains open.
“We are working cooperatively with the Montana Department of Transportation, Montana Disaster and Emergency Services and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as other counties and tribal entities lending mutual aid assistance,” said Robert DesRosier, Incident Commander for the Blackfeet Tribe. “We are pleased with the support and assistance we have received thus far in dealing with our situation.”
“We are working cooperatively with all the partners to provide assistance to the Blackfeet Tribe,” said Delila Bruno, Montana Disaster and Emergency Services Administrator.
Other locations across the state have experienced severe weather over the past several days as well. At Fort Belknap, officials have opened an Incident Command System and are assisting with hay donations, warming shelters, and firewood.