PRESCRIBED BURNS OUTSIDE OF NEW TOWN
By: Sherry Stevens,
NEW TOWN – Thursday the TAT Fire Management Team led by Director, Marle Baker was working to burn overgrown shrubs, weeds and debris around the eastern perimeter of Riverview Estates to make the community safe against wild fire and other natural occurring perils. HFR or The Hazardous Field Reduction project is a program where The MHA Nation’s Fire Management Team utilizes knowledge and acquired skills regarding controlled burning, to prevent residential and business structure fires on Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Director, Marle Baker commented about the controlled burning, “We do them in most of the communities and basically, it’s to protect the homes and the structures from wildfires so if we get a fire coming this way, we stop it. We are protecting Riverview (Estate) homes here, and we’ve got this one in North Segment with four more in Mandaree, and one in Twin Buttes. A couple are burning now in White Shield, so they’re all throughout the reservation. We do them either, now or in the spring.”
The Three Affiliated Tribe’s website gives the following information:
The Fire Management program provides wildland fire protection services on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation utilizing to the extent possible, resources available on the Reservation, complying with the National Wildlife Coordinating Group (NWCG) guidelines. This is accomplished by providing NWCG sanctioned training and equipment for the local Tribal and Emergency Firefighters.
Marle Baker, Director and Task Force Leader for TAT’s Fire Management Program
Crew member adjusts his strap on his uniform harness as he walks toward the live burn
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Crew truck rolls into the already-burned area to get closer to the live fire
Crew member waits with a fire tool to control the fire’s direction as it draws near him
Currently the TAT has six Type 6 Wildland Fire Engines and two Type 5 Wildland Fire Engines as well as 25 qualified wildland firefighters. Prescribed fire is also a major component of the protection of the people and resources on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Numerous areas throughout the reservation are burned to reduce or eliminate hazardous fuels utilizing NWCG sanctions planning in methods. Off-reservation dispatch is a secondary function of the Fire Management Program. Hand crews and/or Engine crews can be dispatched throughout the nation to assist in wildland suppression efforts. When conditions are favorable, we can burn around your home to either protect it from wildfire, or to reduce some snow buildup in the winter months. https://www.mhanation.com/fire-management.
According to TAT’s website on fire management, Baker began his current position as Fire Management Officer for TAT in April 2004. He began his career as Wild Land Firefighter in the spring of 1991 as a Type 2 Fire Fighter and he has worked his way up to Incident Commander Type III, Task Force Leader and Prescribe Burn Boss Type 2. Baker’s formal education was acquired at the University of Idaho with a Bachelors of Science in Forestry. Baker also served as Director and Commander for the MHA Nation’s COVID-19 Task Force Team in 2020.