MENOMINEE, Mich. (WJMN) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Menominee County on Thursday following the large fire at a Resolute Forest Products paper mill and a neighboring warehouse on October 6. Menominee County previously declared a local state of emergency on October 7, but will need additional support from the state to combat the fire, according to the governor’s office.
State resources will provide assistance to prevent water run-off from fire suppression efforts from threatening the local water supplies, as well as with offsetting the costs stemming from fire suppression and clean-up.
“I want to thank the first responders from Michigan and Wisconsin who joined forces battling this fire day and night to prevent it from spreading further and causing more damage,” Whitmer said. “Through this emergency declaration, we are dedicating every available resource to fire suppression efforts, environmental protection, and financial assistance for the local response. We will be there to assist until the emergency response is completed.”
Firefighters from Michigan and Wisconsin have assisted in combatting the fire. A team from the Environmental Protection Agency was sent to conduct air quality monitoring and testing due to an 8,000-gallon tank of peroxide that was in the fire’s likely path. People living in both the city of Menominee and the city of Marinette, Wisconsin have been advised to shelter in place due to smoke-related hazards.
“Thank you to all those who have worked so hard to put out the fire and clean up the mess, including the multiple communities across the region that responded with aid,” said Senator Ed McBroom. “The MSP has done a great job getting this request in to the governor and I thank her for the very quick approval so the communities can move forward in finishing the work.”
According to a release from the Whitmer administration, the declaration makes available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what has already been done in conjunction with local agencies.
“The governor’s declaration will be immensely helpful because without this assistance the City of Menominee would not be able to sustain the financial burden from this catastrophic event,” said Brett Botbyl, City Manager for the City of Menominee. “It will also afford us the ability to continue to secure resources to keep personnel safe and protect our city.”
Additionally, Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center ensuring all state resources are available to support the local community as needed.