Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Tribally owned internet gets funding boost

HOOPA VALLEY RESERVATION, Calif. - The Hoopa Fire Department is a fortress of pinewood and eggshell-colored sheet metal against a backdrop of evergreen-blanketed hills. As the nerve center of the Hoopa Valley Tribe's emergency response services, it has taken on a new, existential importance in recent years, as climate change brings more frequent and intense wildfires to the reservation and surrounding area here in Northern California.

Greg Moon, the tribe's former fire chief and director of emergency services, recalls the 2020 wildfire season as especially brutal. At the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, when the tribal government was operating as a skeleton crew, two substantial fires merged in the Trinity Alps wilderness, just east of Hoopa, to form the Red Salmon Complex fire.

The walls of the fire department's training room are plastered with maps showing the edges of Red Salmon's reach. Burning more than 140,000 acres of forest and brushing up against the edge of the reservation, the fire's size dwarfed that of Hoopa Valley itself. As smoke and hazardous fumes drifted toward the reservation, the tribe declared a state of emergency and braced for the possibility of a scrambled evacuation.


Reader Comments(0)