Wis. DNR: Take caution following Germann Road Fire - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Wis. DNR urges residents to take caution following Germann Road Fire

Posted: Updated:
TOWN OF GORDON, Wis. (KMSP) -

Hot, windy weather forced crews from Wisconsin and Minnesota to contain wildfires that scorched 9,030 acres of northwestern cabin country on Tuesday.

As of Wednesday evening, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said the Germann Road Fire in Douglas and Bayfield counties is almost completely contained, but firefighting crews will continue to monitor and clear debris from the area. Residents are urged to take caution when entering and traveling about the area.

Evacuee information line: 715-376-4185

The state DNR was alerted to a large wildfire reported Tuesday afternoon in Douglas County near the towns of Wascott and Barnes -- it is the largest forest fire northern Wisconsin has seen in 33 years. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

AIR QUALITY NOTICE

State DNR issued an Air Quality Notice to warn residents of the possibility of air quality problems downwind of the fire. There is no air quality data available to gauge the health impacts of the fire, but the DNR is advising residents to monitor symptoms and consult a physician with any concerns. Symptoms of smoke exposure include eye, nose and throat irritation, or breathing discomfort. Severe symptoms include chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.

RED FLAG WARNING

A Red Flag Warning was issued Wednesday in Florence and Marinette counties. The warning is issued when wind, temperature and humidity combine to produce conditions supporting extreme fire behavior, should a fire occur. The state DNR is also suspending all burning permits statewide.

Burning permit information: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/permits.html

RESIDENTS FORCED OUT

No injuries have been reported, but evacuations were ordered as conservation wardens knocked on doors to alert homeowners in Loon Lake, Sand Lake, Murray Lake, Potowatomi Estates, Rock Lake, Beauregard Lake, Catherine Lake, Ellison Lake and the Village of Barnes. About 59 evacuees made residence in Drummond High School, 22 spent night.

The state DNR reported 47 total structures destroyed, including 17 homes. Firefighters saved 77 structures, including 42 homes.

Once the main blaze is officially contained, crews will spend the next several days to control hot spots in the area that could spark more trouble.

Evacuee information line: 715-376-4185

WILDFIRE HISTORY

The state DNR has deemed the Germann Road Fire the largest fire to hit Wisconsin since 2005, in which the Adams County Cottonville fire torched 3,410 acres and over 300 buildings. The last major forest fire in northern Wisconsin, the Oak Lake Fire, burned through 11,418 acres of forest in 1980.

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