By Eddie Mouss
On August 2, 2012, a State of Emergency was declared by Principal Chief George Tiger due to the extreme heat , drought and fire conditions. There was no mention of implementing burn bans even as Oklahoma State Governor Mary Fallin issued a statewide burn ban for all 77 counties in Oklahoma. “Extreme heat and ongoing drought have created conditions very conducive to wildfires,” Fallin said. “A statewide burn ban is now necessary to reduce the risk of preventable wildfires and to protect lives and property.”
Tribal lands in Oklahoma are under the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the tribes and burn bans must be enacted by the tribal government to be enforceable on tribal lands. There is no mention of plans to help restricted land owners, farmers or ranchers protect or save some of their property like livestock if possible. A memo was sent to Principal Chief George Tiger from James Nichols who is the MCN Emergency Management Coordinator. Below is the full text of the memorandum that was obtained through the National Council Office.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation
Office of Emergency Management
P.O. Box 580
Okmulgee, OK 74447
DATE: August 2, 2012
TO: George Tiger, MCN Principal Chief
Thru: Phil Booker, MCN Risk Management
FROM: James Nichols, MCN Emergency Management Coordinator
SUBJECT: MCN State of Emergency due to Extreme Heat
Per our meeting this afternoon I am sending this memo for you to disseminate to the appropriate personnel. After careful deliberation from key personnel this afternoon the MCN has declared a State of Emergency due to the extreme heat and drought conditions. The following things have been decided and will be put into effect immediately:
- MCN Community Centers will be notified and asked to operate their centers as “Cooling Stations” from the hours of 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The centers that open will be manned by community members and supported by the MCN.
- Division of Health CHR’s and ENP employees will continue to evaluate patients and clients that are in need of resources such as fans and or air conditioning.
- The MCN Senior Services and Food Distribution will also continue to monitor and evaluate seniors in need of services or resources such as fans and or air conditioning.
- Lighthorse Police will continue to patrol the MCN jurisdiction with an emphasis in checking on known elderly citizens and reporting back to the Division of Cornmunity & Human Services.
- All contacts made with citizens need to be documented with name, address, phone number and any comments. This information is a must for future references, and needs to be submitted to the Division of Community & Human Services and/or Geospatial Department for future reference.
- The MCN Public Relations Department will send disseminate press releases and information regarding signs of heat exhaustion.
- The MCN Division of Community & Human Services will act as liaison between all departments during this State of Emergency and assist where needed.
- All phone calls for services and or emergencies during normal business hours related to heat will be directed to the Division of Community & Human Services (918-549-2555) and will then be directed to the appropriate department.
- After hours calls for services or emergencies related to hear will be directed to the Lighthorse Police and then directed to the appropriate personnel.
- MCN Facilities/GSA will be on standby for emergencies related to air conditioning problems at the MCN communities as well as other emergencies that arise.
- All departments that will be utilizing services during this emergency is asked to generate a budget that will be needed to fund this emergency and submit to Chief’s office so that a National Council decision can be made to appropriate funds if needed.
- The MCN Emergency Response Team will be made available to help during this State of Emergency as directed by the Office of Risk/Emergency Management.
- All expenditures from this date need to be documented and kept tor future use in case steps are taken to seek reimbursement from the proper federal or state agencies.