Forest Fires

Crews from the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest have gone out west to help fight wildfires.

According to authorities,  22 large wildfires are burning nearly 850,000 acres in four western states and Alaska.

One of the Chequamegon-Nicolet firefighters is David Sloan from Park Falls. He was sent to Washington state to fight a blaze in north central Washington....

"....I was on a fire about 4,000 acres called the Newby Lake fire, really active fire behavior. A lot of the area is ready for fire..."

Wildfire season is getting an early start in Wisconsin, thanks to the recent snow melt.

DNR Forester Ranger John Gillen in Rhinelander says April and May are typically the most active months for forest fires in Wisconsin. 

“This year seems to be coming a little bit before that time, in March.  And certainly my counterparts in the southern part of the state are already active in suppressing forest fires.”

Gillen says fire season in northern Wisconsin shouldn’t be far behind, if the warm weather continues. 

Suzanne Flory / Submitted photo

Two Wisconsin fire crews are returning home from helping battle the Carlton Complex blaze in Washington state.  But two other crews are still stationed out west. 

Jim Grant in Rhinelander is Forest Fire Management Officer for the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest and the Ottawa National Forest.

He says the 20-person crews are made up of personnel from a variety of state and federal agencies, like the Forest Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs.   

Suzanne Flory/Submitted photo

Crews from northern Wisconsin are helping battle the largest wildfire in Washington state’s history.

More than 3000 people have been called in from around the country to combat the Carlton Complex, ablaze that started in mid-July. 

Rhinelander resident Suzanne Flory from the U.S. Forest Service is wrapping up a two-week stint at the fire site, serving as a liaison and helping with communication between incident commanders and local government. 

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Words of caution from a DNR spokesperson: don't burn without checking for permits and conditions.

Forester-Ranger John Gillen in Rhinelander says they've been busy since the warm and low-humidity weather came into the region...

" that we lost the snowpack and we've been dry for a couple of days, that's all that it takes for our spring fire activity to build and that's what we've seen over the last couple of days..."