Wisconsin National Guardsmen Will Be Paid By Feds To Do Storm Cleanup Locally

Monday, September 12th, 2011 at 7:53 am

Great news came over the weekend for the people of  Burnett and Douglas counties. A Wisconsin National Guard mission to clean up thousands of downed trees in in those counties has had its federal funding restored.

We told you in August that the National Guard Bureau had approved federal training dollars to cover the 724th Engineer Battalion’s work in Burnett and Douglas counties. But the U.S. Department of Defense revoked the approval Thursday saying training dollars couldn’t be used for disaster response.

Gov. Scott Walker called the battalion to active duty himself Friday, which allowed the work to continue using state money.

Thankfully, federal funding was restored as of Saturday. National Guard Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar says the approximately 64 soldiers are on annual training orders, a federal designation that puts them back in a federal pay status.

July storms toppled trees across six northwestern Wisconsin counties, and the cleanup efforts have required a tremendous amount work. Officials are focused on getting all the dead wood collected before wildfires become a problem, and have also stressed the importance clearing the ditches before winter.

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