Burgum declares drought disaster for counties and tribal nations as extreme conditions spread

Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 10:00am

BISMARCK, N.D.  – Gov. Doug Burgum has declared a drought disaster for nearly all of North Dakota, paving the way for additional response and assistance from state and federal agencies.

The U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly report today rated nearly 46 percent of North Dakota in extreme (D3) or exceptional (D4) drought, up from 40 percent last week. About 16 percent of the state is in severe drought (D2) and 18 percent is in moderate drought (D1).

Burgum signed an executive order late Wednesday declaring a drought disaster for counties and tribal nations experiencing extreme and long-term drought conditions resulting in a D2, D3 or D4 rating, as well as all adjacent counties and tribal nations. More than 300 wildfires have been reported to the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services since April 1.

“These extreme drought conditions represent a serious economic hardship for our farmers, ranchers and the entire state, while also putting firefighters under considerable stress,” Burgum said. “This disaster declaration is another step toward providing relief where it’s most needed.”

The declaration directs state officials to coordinate with federal agencies to make appropriate drought response programs available, and authorizes the North Dakota National Guard to provide personnel, resources and equipment necessary to support drought response efforts.

Last week, the governor waived fees for commercial vehicles hauling hay, water and livestock supplies in drought-affected counties. Previous executive orders have waived hours of service and weight restrictions and allowed the State Water Commission to reactivate its Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Program. More information is available at www.swc.nd.gov.

The executive order signed Wednesday can be viewed here, and previous executive orders can be found here. For more information on drought and wildfires, including a link to the Drought Monitor map, visit www.ndresponse.gov