Burnett County receives timber disaster aidThe first state disaster money from the July 1 timber blow-down storm in northwestern Wisconsin is going to Burnett County.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The first state disaster money from the July 1 timber blow-down storm in northwestern Wisconsin is going to Burnett County. Five towns will get a total of $191,000. That’s still just a drop in the bucket for communities in Burnett, Washburn and Douglas counties. Overall clean-up costs from that storm are estimated at $2.7 million.
Meanwhile, the cost of the nearly 100,000 acre fire in northern Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area has been released. It’s more than $21 million.
U.S. Forest Service Team spokesman Dave Daniels says the big price tag is because the forest fire is in a national wilderness area. The bulk of the costs are because they’re heavily dependent on airplanes to not only fight the fire but also to transport equipment since it is in an area that doesn’t allow for trucks or other motorized transportation. That goes for the hundreds of firefighters coming in from around the country.
“You can’t just drive to the fire because it’s a wilderness area and there are no roads. The roads have to do with waterways and lakes and portages and all the rest. So for many of these crews, they’ve had to learn and be taught safe canoeing skills, believe it or not.”
More than 900 firefighters were used at the two month old fire’s peak, which is now 91 percent contained. Daniels, a retired Wisconsin DNR forester from Rhinelander, says the $21.4 million will be paid for by the U.S. Forest Service.
“It goes through Forest Service accounts but at the end of the day, it’s all of us taxpayers,” he said.
Eventually, Mother Nature is expected to finish this fire. Daniels says they’ve seen their first snowflakes this week.