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Wright County takes pre-emptive action against bird flu

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CLARION, Iowa (AP) — A north-central Iowa county with the state's largest chicken population has declared a state of emergency as a pre-emptive strike to keep out bird flu.

Wright County Supervisor Stan Watne says about 15 million chickens are housed in 20 locations across the county. Even though the closest confirmed bird flu case is about 80 miles west, the supervisors decided Thursday to take unprecedented emergency action in advance of a disaster.

The emergency declaration, usually used when a tornado strikes or a river floods, allows the three supervisors to set up an incident command and create an action plan. It may include road closures to reroute trucks carrying poultry from outside the county away from local chicken barns.

Watne says the bird flu could be economically devastating for the county.

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