Wisconsin Blowdown Still Prevalent in Northern Forests

By KBJR News 1

March 19, 2012 Updated Mar 19, 2012 at 6:16 PM CDT

Wascott, WI (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- Blow down is bad news for the 2012 fire season in Wisconsin.

Straight line winds from strong July storms in 2011 littered areas of Douglas County with downed trees.

That dry timber now lies on top of brown dead grass, prompting fire officials to spread an urgent message about fire safety, heading into spring with record high temperatures.

Katrina Copeland had a front row seat to the storms that rocked Wascott Wisconsin last July.

"It was like a war zone. It was like trees everywhere on top of their houses and a top of power lines"

Now entering spring in 2012, outside Wascott in Douglas country, snapped trees and upturned roots are still scattered through out the forest of pine and birch.

Off of Highway T in Wisconsin, the blowdown paired with record high temperatures has fire officials worried.

"We are still far behind in moisture and now we have a lot of downed material in certain parts of our region, so now we have a heightened fire danger and it's a major concern"

Local fire fighters, who work side by side with the DNR say thick forest equals big problems with blow down.

"There is still a lot of trees down. It's very thick on the ground that will hinder our abilities to fight fire effectively, quickly... It's going to be a dangerous situation this spring"

A dangerous situation that with some help from mother nature...could be avoided.

"We could get rain every few days and that would help take off the edge but however the way things are going now that doesn't seem to be happening so we could be in for a long haul this spring"

A long haul that the Wisconsin DNR is prepared for...and already taking action on.

The Wisconsin DNR is meeting with the Minnesota DNR tomorrow to coordinate their preparation for the fire season.

Both agencies urge anybody who has any questions about burning permits or fire danger to visit their websites which you can find at http://dnr.wi.gov/ or http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/index.html

Zach Vavricka

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