National Park Service


Winds have picked up and air quality has improved a bit the past couple of days, but large fires in Ontario have created hazy skies in the region and on occasion, some breathing concerns.

Ontario is currently battling 20 forest fires, which are posing a risk to an estimated 14 communities across the region.

Katie Praedel is Air Monitoring Section Chief for the DNR. She says smoke from the Canadian fires had drifted south and east into the Upper Midwest. We spoke with her earlier this week about the situation...

Pixabay.com stevepb

One of the peak fire danger times has passed, but the warm and dry weather the past few days means the chance of wildfire has risen a bit.

Catherine Koele is a DNR wildfire prevention specialist based in Woodruff. After the snow leaves and before the forests green up is a high fire danger time. The green up has happened but now other concerns arise...

NPS Photo / Mike Lewelling

The days after the snow leaves and the time before the forests green up is one of the most dangerous times for wildfires.

DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele in Woodruff..

"...It's nice to see this white stuff disappearing and what that means for the rest of us in the Division of Forestry is it's fire season. It started in the south and has been progressing to the north..."

Last year's leaves and grass form a combustible mix on the forest floor says Koele. She says the public can help prevent wildfires...

Suzanne Flory

Firefighters in Colorado might get some relief as rain is expected in the Centennial State to help slow a series of wildfires.

Recently, an interagency crew of firefighters from this region arrived to help out with fire suppression.

Forest Service employee Suzanne Flory of Rhinelander has been working with the Incident Management Team as a liason with various agencies and individuals affected by the fires....


Every county except one in the Northwoods is considered by the DNR to have a high potential for wildfires.

Vilas county is said to have a moderate danger. Fire prevention experts say the time just after the snow leaves until the forests and fields green up is a prime time for wildfires to break out. The weather has turned warmer and windy this week, also raising the bar on conditions needed for wildfire.

DNR wildfire prevention specialist Catherine Koele in Woodruff says fire season is here...


Suzanne Flory works for the U.S. Forest Service in Rhinelander, but has answered the call to be a Public Information Officer at fires in Oregon. The western states have seen hot, dry conditions and wildfires in Montana, Washington and other  states.

Flory is in the Willamette National Forest between Bend and Eugene. Flory has worked many other fires over the years, but this time firefighters also have to deal with people from all over the world coming to Oregon to experience the total eclipse next Monday.


Fireworks cause a substantial number of fires and a DNR specialist adds to the voices to let the professionals do the fireworks this holiday weekend.

DNR wildfire prevention specialist Catherine Koele, says fireworks are illegal in Wisconsin state parks and forests. She says even though this year has had moisture and the fire danger is lower than most years, the majority of fires during the year are caused by legal fireworks...

Suzanne Flory

Firefighters from Wisconsin have joined the battle against wildfires in northern California. One  detail is  near Willow Creek, California involves Suzanne Flory  from the U.S. Forest Service office based in Rhinelander.

Flory is a veteran Public Information Officer at these kinds of events and says this fire was caused by extremely dry conditions and lots of lightning last Thursday...

Spring Melt Could Spell Early Wildfires

Mar 13, 2015

Wildfire season is getting an early start in Wisconsin, thanks to the recent snow melt.

DNR Forester Ranger John Gillen in Rhinelander says April and May are typically the most active months for forest fires in Wisconsin. 

“This year seems to be coming a little bit before that time, in March.  And certainly my counterparts in the southern part of the state are already active in suppressing forest fires.”

Gillen says fire season in northern Wisconsin shouldn’t be far behind, if the warm weather continues. 

Smokey Bear Turns 70

Aug 15, 2014
Monie Shackleford / WXPR News

The iconic Smokey Bear is celebrating his 70th birthday this month.  As WXPR Contributor Monie Shackleford reports, on Saturday, the Ottawa National Forest marked the occasion with a well-attended party at the Ottawa’s Visitor Center outside of Watersmeet, Michigan. 

The party for Smokey included food, games for kids, historic Smokey promotional displays, fire trucks from area communities, and of course Smokey Bear.  After the crowd sang “Happy Birthday,” to Smokey, he cut the cake with a firefighter’s axe called a Pulaski.  

DNR Warns of Wildfire Risk

Apr 23, 2014

As snow cover lessens, fire danger increases.  The DNR has designated this week as “Wildfire Prevention Week” to mark the upcoming anniversary of the Germann Road Fire that burned more that 7000 acres in Douglas County last May.  

Wildfire Prevention specialist Catherine Koele says the highest risk for fire comes after the snow melts and before things green up. 

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.

Wisconsin DNR

The DNR says that wildfire which burned more than nine thousand acres in Douglas and Bayfield counties is northern Wisconsin's biggest forest fire in nearly 33 years.

DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele says conditions are perfect for fire...


"....we all became a little complacent with all the snow and rain we've had. We thought fire season would sneak by us ....(the fire) consumed about 9,000 acres and 47 structures..."