UPDATE: The Department of Natural Resources has established a hotline for residents that may be impacted by the Germann Road Fire. That line is to allow residents to learn the status of their homes or property, and connects directly to the Incident Command Center. That is also the number to call to arrange escorts to and from the evacuated property to retreive pets and supplies. The number is 715-376-4185.____________________________________________________________________________________
SOLON SPRINGS, WI (WSAU) - DNR officials say a fire in northwest Wisconsin is mostly contained at this point.
DNR spokesman Ed Culhane says crews have the fire mostly surrounded at this point and are expecting more help as the day progresses. "We've got a pair of water bombers coming in from Ontario Canada." A group of bucket carrying Blackhawk helicopters is expected from the National Guard as well.
The DNR has cancelled all burning permits today, and issued a Red Flag warning for far northeastern Wisconsin. Culhane says any burning should be very carefully supervised today. "Obviously you can't do debris burning without a burn permit, but campfires I'd be really careful with. Make sure they're well contained, make sure you've got a water source." Weather conditions across most of the state are extremely likely to start another fire.
Officials said 47 structures have been destroyed, including 17 homes in a wooded area southeast of Solon Springs in Douglas County. No injuries have been reported to either residents or firefighters, in what’s being called the largest forest fire in northern Wisconsin in 33 years. Crews from the U.S. Forest Service joined about 15 local fire departments in battling the wildfire, along with state crews from Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Firefighters were able to save 77 structures. People from Barnes in Bayfield County were evacuated, along with lakeshore homeowners in several locations. 60 evacuees registered at Drummond High School, and 22 stayed there overnight.
The DNR said the blaze was first discovered near the town of Barnes Tuesday. Culhane says the cause is likely sparks from logging equipment in the area.