Disaster/Environmental Emergency

Disaster/Environmental Emergency: Water shortage and forest fire | Arizona
Affected Tribe: White Mountain Apache Tribes | http://www.wmat.nsn.us/
Inside/Outside PWNA’s Service Area: Inside PWNA’s regular service area

Impact on Tribe: On June 21, 2017, PWNA received an Emergency Declaration regarding a critically low water supply in Cibecue, Arizona, affecting approximately 1,600 residents. The water shortage was due to a failed water system/pump and the community was reportedly functioning on about 5% of its normal water supply. Then on June 25, lightning started the “Hilltop fire” about 30 miles northwest of San Carlos on the Fort Apache Reservation. The fire burned for a month, at one point putting Cedar Creek and Canyon Day communities under pre-evacuation notices, and limiting visibility along nearby highway 60.

PWNA Aid Requested: On June 21, emergency aid was requested in the form of water, but when the fire started, it worsened the situation. PWNA coordinated its water response with Carlos Valadez from the Whiteriver Emergency Operations Center, who was referred to PWNA by Preeo Johnson, a previous program partner. PWNA also coordinated a second shipment of rescue equipment with the White Mountain Apache Fire Department.

PWNA Disaster Response:

  • 40,113 pounds of water and lemonade shipped (27,388 bottles)
  • $55,457 worth of water and lemonade in the 22 pallets provided by PWNA
  • $3,756 worth of rescue equipment and supplies (612 pounds) for the fire department donated by Arizona Hiking Shack


  • Preeo Johnson expected the repairs and restoration of water to last an indefinite period of time, and reported that planning ahead for shortages was underway. Bottled water was requested to assist the residents of the Cibecue community, primarily the elderly, ill, disabled, low income and children.
  • "White Mountain Apache Tribe and Office of Emergency Management officials say they appreciate those who assisted with water supplies and labor. They [continued] to monitor the situation over [several] weeks." (White Mountain Independent News)

Emergency/relief photos and links:
For news and images about the water and fire, visit these pages: