Community Recovers After Historic Fire in Northwest Wis

By KBJR News 1

May 18, 2013 Updated May 18, 2013 at 6:53 PM CDT

Barnes, WI (NNCNOW.com) - After being saved from the flames of the Germann Road fire by a man she didn't know, June Thielen searched tirelessly for the man who saved her life.

"My first description of him was brown hat, brown shoes, brown pants and a red mustache, but I come to meeting today and was telling the story and this guy that I know said, I'm the one that was at your door, and everyone, this is Lance Burns and he is my angel," said Thielen.

Burns was one of the many officials who put their life on the line to save others in the last week while dealing with the historic fire.

The community has also stepped in to lend a helping hand.

"After a meeting like this today you really realize how a community responds, not only to a bad thing, but to a moment that they need to come together to really take care of each other," said Rep. Janet Bewley (D-74).

Community members filled the Barnes Town Hall to get a better understanding of the events that lead to the massive fire.

DNR, fire and county officials answered their questions and provided resources for people whose homes were damaged or lost in the fire.

They say one important thing to do is check water wells.

"You want to take a look at your well, your well cap the casing the conduit that's there, some of this fire it may have cracked the cap, compromised the gasket in there, damaged the PVC pipe, where the electrical wires are enclosed in," said Ken Zurian Douglas County Health and Human Services.

Zurian says it's important to get the well secured to avoid further contamination.

Another problem people may have is with partially burned trees on their property.

"If people have trees that are damaged that are to the point that it's a safety hazard, and that was mentioned here today, they need to get a hold of...and we will work with our fire departments, things like that, but if there is a tree that they are worried about falling on them or hurting them, we'll find people or we may still as we are involved with this operation fell those trees as long as they are not near a house or something," said Jay Gallagher, DNR Forestry Supervisor.

So whether your home is charred or completely gone, community members say they're here for anyone in need of a little help from a guardian angel.

If you would like more information on well and septic system safety click here

If you would like more information about home safety and wildfires click here

If you would like to know how to clean up or remove smoke odor, click here

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.
kanderson@kbjr.com