BISMARCK, N.D. (June 30, 2017) – Gov. Doug Burgum today amended his June 22 Executive Order on drought assistance for livestock producers, expanding coverage by five counties in response to the June 29 U.S. Drought Monitor.
The amendment provides aid to livestock producers through the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Program (Program) overseen by the State Water Commission. The additional areas include counties designated as extreme drought classification, or “D3,” and adjacent counties, including: Stutsman, Logan, McIntosh, LaMoure and Dickey.
The amendment allows the State Water Commission to expand the number of counties eligible for the Program if additional areas are added to the D3 classification in the future. Gov. Burgum last week also activated the State Emergency Operations Plan and initiated intragovernmental support for drought planning and response activities through a unified command structure, which meets weekly to coordinate statewide resources and response activities.
“A whole-of-government approach is critical to helping impacted communities as we face moderate to extreme drought conditions across the state,” said Gov. Burgum. “We will continue to work proactively with state and federal partners to ensure affected individuals have access to the resources they need to protect livestock, crops and their livelihoods.”
Burgum also urged extreme care and caution by all North Dakotans and visitors over the upcoming holiday weekend with regard to fireworks, campfires, and overall awareness of drought conditions.
“One firework in an uncontrolled environment, or a cigarette tossed out a window, could have dire consequences for those already affected by drought conditions. We must all work together to mitigate the potential danger one spark could have to personal safety, property, livestock, wildlife, and range and crop lands,” said Burgum.
Extremely dry conditions, lack of precipitation and high winds have created a fire emergency in North Dakota and have had a detrimental impact on livestock water supplies, crops and pasture conditions. This week’s U.S. Drought Monitor report showed 25 percent of the state in extreme drought, 22 percent in severe drought, 20 percent in moderate drought and 33 percent abnormally dry. Conditions aren’t expected to improve in the near future.
State agencies continue to work closely with stakeholders, including livestock producers, to provide appropriate management recommendations and resources given the current conditions.
The risk of wildfires also has increased much earlier than normal, with 30 counties issuing emergency declarations, burn bans or other fire restrictions so far. An active, prolonged fire season will likely challenge the capacity of local volunteer fire departments. Although the Program is limited to named counties, counties that have no current drought declaration can request state assets for firefighting if needed.
More information on drought/wildfire conditions, including which counties have burn bans and fireworks restrictions in place, is available at NDresponse.gov. The updated executive order can be viewed here.