The Department of Natural Resources says a wildfire burning in Marinette County is contained, although DNR forestry supervisor Mike Folgert says the blaze will likely remain active for some time.
The fire started last week in a remote wooded area between Peshtigo and Marinette. Folgert says state and local fire fighters were able to responded quickly and put fire breaks in place to circle the entire 100 acre area. He says they are confident it will remain in that area and will not pose a risk to additional property.
However, dry weather has left plenty of fuel for the fire to continue feeding on for days to come. Folgert says there is plenty of dry grass and peat moss just below the surface. He says an active blaze will break out on the surface and then begin smoldering below ground, only to return again later.
Folgert compares it to the still hot charcoal in a grill that can potentially burn or flare up again for some time after the fire has gone out.
The biggest concern, Folgert says, is the smoke being produced by the almost continuous fire. He says it gets trapped close to the ground in the evening and overnight hours, resulting in the region being covered in smoke almost constantly. Residents are urged to close their windows over the coming days to reduce their exposure. Folgert says they can also refrain from calling 911 to report smelling smoke.
Because of the remote location, Folgert says traditional fire engines have been unable to reach the area. The DNR and local fire crews have been brining in water using all-terrain vehicles as they manage the blaze.
Still, it’s doubtful the fire will be completely out until the area gets a few days of heavy rain, according to Folgert. He says that’s not in the forecast anytime soon, so officials will continue to focus on containing the fire for now.