DNR Says Big Fire An Accident

May 17, 2013

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.

DNR law enforcement officials have confirmed that the fire was caused by equipment associated with logging operations. A logging crew, running a Timberjack 840 feller/buncher, was harvesting timber on industrial timber lands owned by Lyme St. Croix Forest Company LLC, these lands are managed by Steigerwaldt Land Services, Inc.

An operator from Ray Duerr Logging, LLC was conducting routine timber harvesting operations and noticed smoke coming from below the cutting head of the machine.

The area surrounding the source of ignition indicates the fire progressed quickly after the fire started.

The responsible party made a concerted effort to extinguish the fire using a fire extinguisher located in the cab of the harvester and immediately called 911.

A thorough investigation has demonstrated that no negligence was involved and there was no intentional setting of fire to the land.

DNR fire control officials flew over the fire yesterday with infrared photographic technology to determine where any remaining hot spots are located. Fire crews will continue to suppress the hot spots and monitor the fire perimeter over the coming days. Scattered rainfall expected over the weekend will greatly assist in the mop-op operations.

For continued updates related to the Germann Road Fire, visit the DNR website dnr.wi.gov, enter keyword "Germann Road Fire." For the most current fire danger and any burning permit restrictions, enter keyword, "fire."

(from DNR press release)