Governor surveys fire damage, state directs agencies to helpState, local and federal officials to meet with victims of Germann Road fire Saturday.
GORDON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker surveyed damage from “The Germann Road Fire” Thursday that destroyed over 8,100 acres in Bayfield and Douglas Counties.
The governor declared a state of emergency Wednesday evening and directed state agencies to make services available to residents whose property has been destroyed or damaged as a result of the forest fire.
Some of those state officials will be joined by local officials and representatives from Congressman Sean Duffy’s office during a special meeting for victims of Tuesday’s fire. The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Barnes Town Hall.
“The damage we’ve seen today is widespread, and many families have lost their homes or other property,” Walker said. “To the victims of this fire, I want you to know that the state of Wisconsin stands with you, and I am directing our state agencies to do everything they can to help you recover and rebuild during this difficult time. I thank our first responders and all those involved in the coordinated effort to contain this fire.”
The governor was joined by Duffy, the Republican from Weston, Wis.
“This week northern Wisconsin saw the largest forest fire to hit our region in more than thirty years. I was grateful to be back home today to personally thank the men and women who answered the call and brought this fire under control swiftly and safely,” Duffy said. “This week we witnessed the positive response that can come when all levels of government – federal, state, county and local — work together for the good of our community. Because of that collaboration and cooperation, the first responders were incredibly effective in their efforts. They extinguished the blaze in just thirty-six hours, saved countless lives and were able to minimize the structural damage. Our community is grateful for their work every day, but most especially this week.”
Rep. Duffy also offered assistance to the families and businesses impacted by the fire.
“For those in need of assistance, my office will continue to work with the governor to ensure that every necessary resource is made available to you,” Duffy said. “On the federal level, I have already reached out to the Small Businesses Administration, FEMA and USDA Rural Development to inquire about available resources. If you need any help, please do not hesitate to call us at 715-392-3984.”
Walker surveyed the damage today with the Wisconsin National Guard and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The governor also met with first responders and local officials at a command post at the Gordon Fire Hall in Douglas County.
Walker is directing state agencies to help residents in the following ways:
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority will provide access to funding for temporary housing assistance for the affected residents from the fire.
The Office of Commissioner of Insurance will make available assistance for property owners filing claims who have been impacted by the fire. Homeowners can contact the OCI helpline for assistance with their homeowners insurance coverage. Go to OCI.wi.gov or call 800-236-8517.
The Department of Administration will make emergency funds available to eligible residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed. Also, funding for businesses impacted by the fire will be made available to those who are eligible.
The Department of Health Services has been in contact with local health departments to provide assistance. They will be working with DNR on air quality concerns and will continue to work with other state and local partners to provide public health assistance.
The Department of Natural Resources has established a hotline which residents impacted by the fire can learn about the status of their homes and property. The phone number, 715-376-4185, will connect residents directly to Incident Command where staff are prepared to help update them regarding the status of buildings on their property.
The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection will provide assistance to any residents with livestock or pets impacted by the fire and regional experts with crop distribution assistance as well.
The fire’s cause has been confirmed by law enforcement officials. The fire started from a logging crew harvesting timber on industrial timber lands. A logging equipment operator noticed smoke coming from below the cutting head of the machine while harvesting timber.
For additional information regarding The Germann Road Fire, please visit: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/GermannRoadFire.html.