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Wildfire season off to slow start before Germann Road Fire

TOWN OF GORDON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin had a slow start to the spring wildfire season before this week’s blaze that destroyed over 9,000 acres in Douglas and Bayfield counties.

DNR prevention specialist Catherine Koele said that as of Monday, her agency handled a near-record low 289 wildfires covering about 450 acres.

The late winter provided lots of moisture until just a few days ago. Now, the DNR says the northern two-thirds of Wisconsin has a very high risk of wildfires due to stronger winds and warmer temperatures.

About the southeast third of the state has a somewhat lesser fire danger, but it’s still high.

Burning permits were suspended Wednesday throughout the state, and Florence and Marinette counties had Red Flag Warnings imposed.

Media reports say sparks from machinery or vehicles at a logging site might have caused the northwest Wisconsin wildfire – the state’s largest in 33 years. It was contained Wednesday night, with just over 9,000 acres burned and 47 structures destroyed.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said she was extremely thankful that no one was hurt, and her agency’s thoughts are with those evacuated from the site.

The DNR says an information phone line has been set up for evacuees. It shut down late Wednesday night, but will re-open at 8 a.m. Thursday. Here’s the number – (715) 376-4185.

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