Saturday grass fire in Town of Rock Falls
TINA L. SCOTT
“On Saturday, Mar. 20, the Merrill Fire Department and Wisconsin DNR responded to a brush fire at N5330 County Road JJ in the Town of Rock Falls,” Merrill Fire Department Chief Josh Klug said. “Upon arrival, firefighters found an approximate 3.5 acre wildland fire with flames 5 – 6 feet in height. Fire crews deployed down each flank of the fire and brought it under control. Mutual aid from Russell and Pine River Fire Departments were utilized, as well. There were four brush trucks, two UTVs, one fire engine, one water tender, one ambulance, and one heavy dozer unit used in total to fight the fire.”
The fire burned approximately six acres and “is believed to have started from embers out of the owner’s burn barrel.” Klug added.
The homeowner confirmed the cause of the blaze and was visibly still in shock at how quickly the bit of lit paper blew out of the barrel and started a full-blown fire in the nearby tall grasses where it was almost immediately out of control.
Jordan Hunter, Forester at the Northern Highland–American Legion (NHAL) State Forest near Woodruff, responded as part of the Wisconsin DNR crew. “After the snow melts, last year’s dead vegetation dries out quickly with low relative humidity,” he said. “Paired with wind, fires can start and spread quickly.”
“Be sure to obtain a DNR permit before burning and check the daily restrictions,” Hunter said. He added that permits for Lincoln, Marathon, and Taylor Counties had been suspended for the weekend with no debris burning allowed.