wildfires

Suzanne Flory

Firefighters from Wisconsin have joined the battle against wildfires in northern California. One  detail is  near Willow Creek, California involves Suzanne Flory  from the U.S. Forest Service office based in Rhinelander.

Flory is a veteran Public Information Officer at these kinds of events and says this fire was caused by extremely dry conditions and lots of lightning last Thursday...

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. 

Monie Shackleford / WXPR News

The iconic Smokey Bear is celebrating his 70th birthday this month.  As WXPR Contributor Monie Shackleford reports, on Saturday, the Ottawa National Forest marked the occasion with a well-attended party at the Ottawa’s Visitor Center outside of Watersmeet, Michigan. 

The party for Smokey included food, games for kids, historic Smokey promotional displays, fire trucks from area communities, and of course Smokey Bear.  After the crowd sang “Happy Birthday,” to Smokey, he cut the cake with a firefighter’s axe called a Pulaski.  

As snow cover lessens, fire danger increases.  The DNR has designated this week as “Wildfire Prevention Week” to mark the upcoming anniversary of the Germann Road Fire that burned more that 7000 acres in Douglas County last May.  

Wildfire Prevention specialist Catherine Koele says the highest risk for fire comes after the snow melts and before things green up. 

DNR law enforcement officials have identified the owner of the land where the Germann Road Fire originated as well as the logging operation responsible for unintentionally igniting the fire.

On Tuesday, May 14, at approximately 2:30 p.m., a nearly 8,000 acre wildfire devastated the Townships of Gordon and Highland in Douglas County. Forty-seven structures were lost; 17 of those were homes. The fire was declared 100 percent contained as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 15. The fire burned a swath more than 9 miles long and a mile and a half wide.

Wisconsin DNR

The DNR says that wildfire which burned more than nine thousand acres in Douglas and Bayfield counties is northern Wisconsin's biggest forest fire in nearly 33 years.

DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele says conditions are perfect for fire...

 

"....we all became a little complacent with all the snow and rain we've had. We thought fire season would sneak by us ....(the fire) consumed about 9,000 acres and 47 structures..."