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Wildfire in northern Wisconsin uncontrolled, 6500 acres burned so far

by
Aerial photo of wildfire, courtesy Wisconsin DNR
Catherine Lake area east of Mercer, WI where a wildfire has consumed thousands of acres of forest.  Map courtesy Google.
Douglas County WI wildfire 5/15/13, courtesy WI DNR
Aerial photo of northern Wisconsin wildfire 5/15/13, courtesy WI DNR.
Aerial photo of wildfire, courtesy Wisconsin DNR
Catherine Koele from Wiscons... (Download MP3)

UPDATE:  As of 2:00 a.m. Wednesday, eight DNR wardens were working to evacuate residents in the danger zone and assist with traffic control while multiple firefighting units try to bring the blaze under control.

UPDATE:  As of 12:15 a.m. Wednesday, about 50 structures have been destroyed, and many power lines are down.  The worst area right now is around Catherine Lake.  The fire is still not under control.

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BARNES, WI (WSAU) -  A northern Wisconsin wildfire has consumed over 68 hundred acres in half a day. The fire is in the Douglas County Town of Barnes.

As of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Several Department of Natural Resources officials were forced to evacuate their command center in Barnes and many people in the Loon Lake, Sand Lake, and Murray Lake areas were evacuated. Several seasonal homes are threatened by the blaze.

The fire jumped Highway 27, which led to more evacuations in Potawatomi Village. Red Cross and state emergency management officials are making arrangements for the evacuees.

DNR fire fighting units have arrived on scene and several more have been ordered. Minnesota DNR is also sending assistance to the area. Units include 7 DNR tractor plows, 2 heavy dozers, 2 air attack planes and 4 single engine air tankers 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 fire is burning in pine and mixed hardwoods. 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.

At this time, it is too early to predict when firefighters will have the wildfire under control.

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