A fire 6 miles long by 1 mile wide has been traveling through Douglas County.
A 20 mile long fire is also raging through Northern Minnesota in the Hubbard County / Park Rapids area. Right now all areas of Wisconsin are rated by the DNR as “high” or “very high” for fire danger.
A DNR tweet sent about 7:20AM 5/15:
Douglas County wildfire is estimated by officials to be 90 percent contained this morning. More updates coming in.
A tweet sent by the Wisconsin DNR at 2AM this morning said the fire is estimated to be 80% contained.
Weather conditions today do not look like they will help the situation. At this moment [7:42AM CST] winds in the Drummond area are 13 mph going WNW. The forecast shows winds 10 – 20 miles per hour going WNW with sunshine and no chance of rain and no rain expected until Saturday. [forecast link]
WKOW has reported that 40 evacuated residents spent the night at the Drummond High School. The fire was first reported in the Town of Barnes [noted on map below].
I’m seeing no reports of injuries or loss of life.
For up to the moment updates, try scanning the DNR’s twitter feed or searching Topsy.com for “Douglas County”.
From the DNR web site:
Massive wildfire reported in Douglas County– Germann Road Fire as of 22:30 on 5/14/13
News Release Published: May 14, 2013 by the Central Office
Barnes, Wis. –A wildfire that started southwest of the Township of Barnes in Douglas County hs now consumed approximately 6,800 acres. Several structures are destroyed and the fire is not contained. The cause of the wildfire is still under investigation. No injuries have been reported. Evacuations are underway near Loon Lake, Sand Lake and Murray Lake and Potowatomi Village. Several seasonal homeowners reside in the area and more structures are threatened.
An evacuation center is now located at Drummond High School. Red Cross and state emergency management officials are making arrangements for the evacuees.
DNR’s Incident Management Team is in place at the Gordon Fire Hall. Any media covering this fire is asked to report to this location.
Several DNR units have arrived on scene and several more have been ordered. Requests are being worked on to obtain extra equipment from Ontario, Canada. Two Army National Guard Blackawk helicopters are also requested to assist in suppression operations beginning Wednesday morning. Units currently working this fire include 7 DNR tractor plows, 2 heavy dozers, 2 air attack planes and 4 single engine air tankers (2 from Wisconsin and 2 from Minnesota) are aggressively working the fire.
Four local fire departments and two USDA Forest Service engines are also assisting with suppression efforts. Sixteen more DNR tractor plows are en route. The Northwest District incident management team has been activated and the command post is at the DNR Barnes Ranger Station. Douglas County and Bayfield County Emergency Management are also on scene assisting the incident.
The fire is roughly six miles long and about a mile wide at the widest point. The fire is traveling northeast and is burning in pine and mixed hardwoods. Today’s weather conditions resulted in high fire danger with DNR suspending outdoor burning in the area. Contributing factors include warm temperatures, low relative humidity and very windy conditions.
Winds at this hour are at 9 mph with gusts up to 24 mph, and the temperature is 87 degrees with relative humidity at 23%. At this time, it is too early to predict when fire fighters will have the wildfire under control.
Cooler temperatures and an increase in humidity expected overnight. However, a shift in winds out of the northwest and similar conditions to today could create challenges with firefighting tactics if the fire continues into tomorrow. Stay tuned to local media outlets for updates.
More on the Minnesota fire: