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Amongst Downed Cell Towers, Billings Northern Cheyenne Volunteers Rally To Provide Aid To Fire Evacuees Back Home

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Tracie Garfield
/
Western Native Voice
Donation drop off location in downtown Billings.

The Richard Spring fire on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in the southeast corner of the state is now Montana’s biggest fire at 15 hundred thousand acres.

Evacuated Northern Cheyenne residents are facing a few days without electricity or phone service because of downed cell towers in Big Horn County

Bobby Limberhand is Northern Cheyenne and lives in Billings. Her son is a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair and lives 10 miles outside of Lame Deer.

“And because his well runs off electricity, he has no water, no electricity, we can’t get ahold of him,” Limberhand says.

Limberhand is a volunteer with local nonprofit Western Native Voice and said she's worried that she can’t contact many people from home. And she’s not the only one. A group of Northern Cheyenne tribal members who live in Billings teamed up with Western Native Voice to collect donations for the evacuated.

“Flashlights, water, non perishable food items, canned goods, stuff to make sandwiches, ice and coolers to keep things cold,” she said.

Evacuation notices are in place for Lame Deer, the reservation's biggest town, Ashland and the surrounding area.

According to Inciweb, there are evacuation hubs set up in Colstrip, Busby, Crow Agency and Broadus.

Here is the donation link and here is information to drop off donations in downtown Billings.

Taylar Stagner is Yellowstone Public Radio's Report for America Indigenous Affairs reporter.

Taylar Stagner covers tribal affairs for Yellowstone Public Radio.