DNR: Menomonee Falls brush fire chars 450 acres; no injuries

Fire crews from across southeastern Wisconsin descended on Menomonee Falls to battle a large brush fire Friday, April 2.

Strong winds fueled the flames Friday, after the fire sparked along Marcy Road around 1:30 p.m. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 450 acres were burned as of Friday night.

"What we quickly found out is we had several smaller fires that basically stretched from Pilgrim Road to west of Lannon road," said Capt. Gene Neyhard with the Menomonee Falls Police Department. "It’s really generally isolated to the woods, the grass and things like that."

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The smoke could be seen from miles away as the flames spread for hours. At one point, the fire inched close to the home of Kathy Pauers.

"I thought it was fog, but I came out and it wasn’t. It was smoke. So I called 911 and the line was busy," Pauers said.

Pauers did not have to evacuate as firefighters kept the blaze far enough out.

Brush fire burns hundreds of acres in Menomonee Falls

Around 5 p.m., police gave an update: no injuries and no involved structures. Several homes were evacuated as a precaution until police gave the all-clear to return around 9 p.m.

Pauers is grateful the firefighters kept the blaze in the grass.

"We are burned as far as you can see," said Pauers.

Brush fire burns hundreds of acres in Menomonee Falls

Officials said the fire was under control around 10 p.m., more than eight hours after it began. The cause is still under investigation.

Prior to the Menomonee Falls fire, there had already been more than 200 wildfires reported in Wisconsin so far this year, according to the DNR, burning over 450 acres. Fire officials anticipate a slightly longer than average fire season because of how early the snow melted around the state.

Visit dnrmaps.wi.gov to monitor active wildfires across the state.

DNR: Fire danger 'very high' statewide

All of Wisconsin is at "very high fire danger" headed into the weekend, the DNR stated Friday, April 2.

With low humidity and high winds in the forecast, the DNR, National Weather Service and other partners are paying particularly close attention to areas most at risk.

As a result of the elevated fire risk, burning remains suspended with DNR-issued burning permits for debris piles, barrels and grass or wooded areas across the DNR Protection Area. If you are outside the DNR Protection Area, please check with local authorities for any burning restrictions.

Any fire could quickly start and spread in these conditions. To help keep Wisconsinites safe, the DNR is asking people to avoid all outdoor burning including limiting the use of campfires and making sure to extinguish and dispose of cigarettes properly.

Outdoor enthusiasts should also use caution with off-road vehicles or equipment that can create a spark and start a fire. Keep in mind that weather conditions can change frequently and quickly become dangerous. 

The earliest chance of minimal precipitation is expected Monday. In the meantime, the DNR urges people to use extreme caution until the fire weather improves.


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