Frustration is growing on the Blackfeet Reservation as residents continue to struggle with snow and strong winds.
Incident Commander Robert DesRosier says the Blackfeet Nation declared a state of emergency on January 4th due to severe winter weather; the Blackfeet declaration remains in effect.
Relentless snow and powerful winds have been pounding the Front Range for more than two weeks. Since then they have been managing the situation off of the original emergency declarations.
On Tuesday, Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency on the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, and Northern Cheyenne reservations, and in Glacier County and Golden Valley Valley County.
DesRosier says they are working with both state and federal officials to bring in much needed help: “We have got seven extra snow blowers in the community and we have extra road graders. We also have two extra front end loaders and I think three to four extra snow plows.”
Crews and equipment have come in from Great falls, Havre, Kalispell, and several other locations.
But DesRosier says every time they get ahead with plowing , it is undone due to the relentless wind.
"We still have roads closed from Canada to Choteau and the Fairfield area so they have to plow their way in,” DesRosier said.
They are also facing issues like Heart Butte residents being without water for almost 24 hours the other day.
DesRosier says they also have two to four search and rescue teams traveling across the reservation.
Those teams are providing food baskets and fire wood to those how currently are unable to get out of their homes.
DesRosier says they are trying to stay ahead of the situation as much as possible, and they are discussing the weather and what’s to come every hour.
"Try to stay off the roads, do not drive around road closed signs and if you are in an area to check on your neighbor please check on your neighbor,” DesRosier said.
If you are on the Blackfeet Reservation and need assistance, call the command post at 406-338-3513.
The agency is posting regular updates on the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council Facebook page.