Town of Barnes
Town of Barnes, WI

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Home > Germann Road Wildfire of 2013 > 5/17/2013 Letter From the Secretary

5/17/2013 Letter From the Secretary

Letter addressed to those working on the fire

Good afternoon Colleagues,

As the week wraps up, I absolutely need to share my gratitude, once again, for the incredible skill, dedication, professionalism and partnership that I, along with the entire state of Wisconsin and beyond, witnessed in DNRs response to the Germann Road Fire in northern Wisconsin.

The response, coordinated across all divisions of the agency, has been nimble and exemplary.

On my Thursday tour of the burn area with Governor Walker, Gundy and I joined the Governor and General Dunbar on a tour of the area by chopper and on the ground. It's one thing to talk about fire damage and devastation, yet quite another to see it. I will never forget those images. Nor will I forget the energy of the incident command center; full of tireless people who had given so much more of themselves than I could imagine. My discussion with a homeowner who had lost his barn and outbuildings--along with his young son's bicycle--was the most memorable, though. He told me "Your DNR people were great." To which I replied, "yes, they are, aren't they? But they aren't my people; they're yours, this is YOUR DNR." Pride and gratitude were the dominant emotions of the day for me. I'm so thankful, again, for the opportunity to be YOUR secretary.

Tremendous thanks go out to DNR staff who are working day in and day out, fighting this fire and helping citizens impacted by it. The 8,131-acre fire is 100 percent contained. Fire-fighting resources are starting to demobilize, public roads have been reopened and power has been restored. Thankfully, 77 structures were saved and we there have been no reported injuries. However, 47 structures were lost, including 17 residences. Please join me in keeping these impacted residents in your thoughts and consider donating to the Red Cross, which is assisting evacuees in the area. Fires, floods, drought, spills  these are some of the major recent events that have put all of your quality work into the spotlight. But its the work you do every day and the preparedness for such events that makes you shine. Thank you for all of your dedication and hard work.


Cathy Stepp
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Madison, WI 53703
[email protected]

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3360 County Highway N, Barnes, WI 54873

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