(Madison, WI) -- Governor Walker signed an Executive Order on Wednesday declaring a State of Emergency for Burnett, Douglas and Washburn Counties, in the wake of several severe storms that occurred earlier this summer.
Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) applauded the Governor's action given the extent of damage caused by the storm and the overwhelming cost and challenge to area residents and local governments facing cleanup costs.
“This Executive Order means the affected communities will receive much-needed assistance in their recovery efforts from several state agencies and the Wisconsin National Guard, if approved by the Department of Defense,” said Harsdorf.
The damage, caused by a series of storms on July 1st, July 19th, and August 1st, has had a widespread impact on the timber in those counties. If not addressed in a timely manner, disease and infestation could threaten not only public and private property, but the industry as well. Timber is crucial to the economy in the region and the state. The timber damaged in the storms amounts to around 75 percent of the state’s annual pulpwood consumption.
“The extent of the storm damage was significant and devastating,” said Harsdorf. “In addition to the effects on the timber industry, the storm damage also impacts public safety in cleaning up right-of-ways as well as area tourism industry given the number of blocked ATV trails and potentially snowmobile trails if they’re not cleared before snow falls.”
The other state agencies that will also be coordinating resources and providing assistance are the Departments of Military Affairs, Revenue, Transportation, as well as the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The Department of Natural Resources will be the lead state agency in these assistance efforts. For more information please call my office at 1-800-862-1092 or the DNR Call Center at 1-888-936-7463.