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FEMA declares July flooding damage a disaster, makes funds available

Gov. Scott Walker Tuesday announced a Federal Emergency Management Agency major disaster declaration for northern Wisconsin counties impacted by flooding in July.

The president made the declaration Tuesday, and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts.

The counties named in the declaration are Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Florence, Iron, Sawyer and Washburn Counties and the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe.

"This declaration allows local governments affected by the July floods to apply for assistance, which will help communities recover some of the costs incurred through fighting the floods and repairing infrastructure such as roads and removing debris," Walker said. "We will continue to work with the communities to help them quickly recover from the flooding."

Multiple rounds of storms hit the area beginning July 11, bringing 8-12 inches of rain that caused widespread damage. Flash floods damaged numerous roads and bridges, washed out culverts, and devastated Saxon Harbor. Preliminary damage assessments determined the storms caused more than $25 million in damage to public infrastructure across the state.

The major disaster declaration is for public assistance, which covers eligible projects submitted by counties, cities, townships and certain private, not-for-profit organizations. The program is not for businesses or homeowners as the level of damage in these areas, unfortunately, does not currently meet requirements for federal relief.

Communities in the affected counties are now eligible for federal assistance on a cost-sharing basis. They should contact their county emergency management director for more information. Under the program, FEMA provides 75 percent of eligible costs, while state and local agencies share the remaining 25 percent.

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