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Burgum seeks more time to request presidential disaster declaration

Ducks fly from a water-covered cornfield Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, south of Mandan, N.D. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum is asking the federal government for more time to request a presidential disaster declaration in the wake of a record-setting wet September and an early October snowstorm.

Federal guidelines require that a request be made within 30 days of an event, but widespread flooding has prevented access to damaged areas and hampered completion of preliminary damage assessments, Burgum's office said Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Eleven counties have submitted reports on damages, with eight counties still working on them. Burgum in conjunction with the Department of Emergency Services on Monday sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency seeking until mid-December to complete and submit the assessments.

North Dakota officials estimate flood damage in the millions of dollars. A presidential disaster declaration would pave the way for federal aid for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged road infrastructure.

Federal Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently declared a secretarial disaster designation for 47 of North Dakota’s 53 counties, making assistance available to farmers and ranchers.