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News From 91.3 KUWS
Few rebuilding after May wildfire in northern Wisconsin
Since the Germann Road fire in May, only 12 rebuilding permits have been issued even though more than 50 structures were burned. Jessica Hamilton reports.
Governor Scott Walker said state agencies would be available for those who needed them following the fire. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, the Office of Commissioner of Insurance and the Department of Administration started work almost immediately.
After a quick response, they are still waiting for people who lost buildings, including 17 homes or cabins, to come forward. Commissioner of Insurance Liaison J.P. Wieske says this takes time.
“When you’re dealing with something this devastating, this big of a deal, it takes people time to sort through everything they need to do until they finally get to their final insurance claim and their final settlement.”
Wieske says they haven’t received complaints about insurance claims.
The May wildfire consumed almost 7000 acres, mostly in Douglas County. County Zoning Administrator Steve Rannenberg says there have only been 12 rebuilding permits issued since the fire that damaged 56 different properties. He thinks people are waiting on insurance claims.
“We are getting towards the end of what we would consider to be the normal permitting season for this construction season, but we may see more activity later this fall in anticipation for building, or rebuilding I should say, next spring.”
Douglas County Administrator Andy Lisak says the Department of Administration did a great job after the fire. He says they had folders waiting for victims to come in for their permits.
“We knew which properties that had suffered structural damage because of our mapping capabilities. Also some of the aerial photographs that we were able to have taken right after the fire, in fact we had taken photos the week previous to and the planes that were taking those photos were able to get back up in the air right after.”
The DOA is currently working with three full time residents, two who ran businesses out of their homes that have come forward for help.
All three state agencies urge anyone who was a victim of the German Road Fire to contact them if they want help.
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