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Forum focuses on Germann Road Fire remembered

Half of the trees around a lake near Solon Springs burned after the Germann Road Fire in 2013. (Jed Carlson/jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Northwest Wisconsin is taking a moment to highlight and remember the efforts that went into battling the historic Germann Road Fire, as well as the recovery efforts still going on today.

An open forum commemorating the five-year anniversary of the fire takes place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Barnes Town Hall, 3360 County Highway N.

There will be a brief presentation about the fire, as well as what the burnt area looks like today as the community and landscape continues to recover.

On May 14, 2013, logging equipment sparked the Germann Road Fire in Douglas County that resulted in 7,499 acres burned and numerous structures lost before crossing into Bayfield County.

Light rain moved through the area that morning dampening only the fine surface vegetation for a fleeting period. When the sun broke through the clouds, the landscape rapidly dried out becoming a prime receptor for a spark.

At 2:45 pm, Brule DNR dispatch started a response that would last the next two days. The fire threatened about 450 structures and destroyed 104, including 23 primary residences before being declared contained May 15.

Wisconsin DNR personnel — 167 strong — with 32 tractor plows, five heavy bulldozers and 100 fire engines worked feverishly to contain the fire, while 44 fire departments protected structures threatened by fire.This was the largest use of aircraft for fire suppression purposes on a fire in Wisconsin's history. Thirteen aircraft including both fixed-wing and helicopters supported the efforts of ground crews.

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