DNR: Wildfire near Necedah contained, crews still on scene
NECEDAH, Wis. (WMTV) - A large wildfire that burned through about 100 acres near Necedah prompted evacuations Wednesday.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported the fire was burning north of Highway 21 and West of Highway 80. In an update posted just before 7:45 p.m., the DNR said that the fire had been contained and that crews remained in the area to make sure there were no hotspots or burning within the contained fire. Crews are expected to stay in the area overnight to oversee fire conditions.
The DNR stated that the fire started in the Township of Necedah and evacuations are underway near 19th Street West, 12th Avenue and 11th Avenue. Juneau County Emergency Management posted an evacuation notice, telling people to go to Necedah Veterans Memorial Hall.
The Salvation Army is working with residents who need temporary housing in finding hotel rooms. Kathleen Engelman, an incident commander for the Salvation Army, said they’re trying to lift people’s spirits up.
“It’s a very emotional time for everybody here,” Engelman said. “And we just, you know, we prayed. And we also have animals here, and so it’s been a challenging time and we just lift our spirits and give it to God.”
The DNR explained that the Jack Pine fire area would remain evacuated overnight.
Two Blackhawk helicopters with the Wisconsin National Guard have been making bucket drops to slow the spread of the fire. In addition to the Blackhawk helicopters, the DNR listed the number of crews fighting the fire, including eight heavy units, seven engines, one DNR air attack, one County heavy dozer, two USFS engines, one USFW engine and marsh master, and one correctional camp crew. Fire crews from Necedah, Cutler, Armenia and Tomah are also working to put out the fire, as well as the US Fish & Wildlife and US Forest Service.
The DNR said crews were making progress with the use of engine trucks and dozers to help build lines to contain the fire.
The American Red Cross of Wisconsin said a team is on the way to the area with water, comfort items and shelter resources, if needed. Red Cross officials said the organization will staff and supply a reception center in the town, which it noted has a population of 931 people.
The DNR explained that the fire is burning in oak, jack pine and grass. Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.
No reports of injuries have been made, according to the DNR.
The DNR warned Wednesday that the warm temperatures, low relative humidity and very windy conditions all contributed to a high risk of wildfires and the agency halting outdoor burning in the area. The high risk of wildfires prompted Gov. Tony Evers to declare a state of emergency, saying his main priority is to protect Wisconsinites ‘from the destructive danger of wildlife.’
The DNR also added that these conditions are also expected for Thursday, meaning it will continue to prohibit burning with all DNR-issued burning permits. It also urged the public to be careful with any activities that could lead to a wildfire.
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