Fighting Wild Fires

By: Teresa Moua-Her
By: Teresa Moua-Her

With the recent hot weather, people all over Wisconsin have been wishing for rain. Though we've gotten some today, it doesn't rule out the possibility of wild fires starting in Wisconsin.
Jonathan Stone knows all too well the danger from the last few, dry weeks. As a forest ranger with the Wisconsin DNR, he says at least one inch of rain must fall over a uniform area to lessen the risk of wild fires here. This Minnesota wild fire has ravaged more than 30 square miles. Could it happen here?
“There are portions of the state of Wisconsin that has the same fuel type in that occurred in the same wind storm so there is a potential,” says Stone.
And he worries about the human element.
“The ability of a fire to involve people is becoming greater and greater because there's a lot more population, a lot more houses where there used to be just forest, now there's forest and houses in them,” says Stone.
But, should a fire break out here, Stone says crews use equipment to fight back.
This is a tractor that can be used to put out fires. It has a special plow in the back to dig trenches and that will contain the fire.
“When you get to the fire in the wooded area we use bulldozers quite a bit,” says Stone, “you go around the perimeter of that fire and you cut off the fuel supply of the fire.”
In places where bulldozers aren't allowed, fire rangers have to call for extra people to put the fire out with axes, or use helicopters and jets to dump water on the scene. Crews on the ground keep the flames in a long and narrow line to make putting it out easier.
And to make sure nothing sparks out of control, they've been keeping a watchful eye.
"We've been manning fire towers, patrol aircraft... Making fire calls."


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