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Wildfires burn for second day across Wisconsin, Red Flag warning issued

“Nearly 80 wildfires have occurred in the last week,” DNR said on Twitter.

April 13, 2023 11:00pm

Updated: April 13, 2023 11:00pm

Thursday saw another day of near-record highs across Wisconsin, and saw another day of wildfires.

The Department of Natural Resources issued a Red Flag warning for the southern two-thirds of the state, stretching from Eau Claire down to Milwaukee.

DNR crews, along with the National Guard, and even crews from the Department of Corrections have been fighting dozens of fires across the state.

“Nearly 80 wildfires have occurred in the last week,” DNR said on Twitter.

Perhaps the largest is the fire burning near Fort McCoy.

That fire closed I-94 for hours on Wednesday, and continued to burn Thursday afternoon.

“The DNR, under unified command with Fort McCoy, is also managing the 2,800-acre Arcadia Fire,” DNR said.

The Arcadia fire comes after 21 fires broke-out Wednesday, including a large fire in Juneau County that forced several people out of their homes.

Gov. Evers on Wednesday declared a state of emergency to deal with the fires.

“Protecting Wisconsinites from the destructive danger of wildfire is a top priority. Although northern Wisconsin still has considerable snow cover, the danger is extreme across much of the state,” the governor said “This executive order will give the Department of Natural Resources the ability to have all available resources ready to be quickly dispatched at critical moments to keep fires small and minimize damage.”

Wisconsin is in the middle of a weeklong heat wave. Many cities set new records for high temperatures Wednesday, and are expected to do so again on Thursday.

The ground in many parts of the state has plenty of water, but the brush on top is dry, and 40-mile-per-hour wind guts only fueled the flames.

The DNR is not guessing when it will have all of the wildfires contained, or when they will be completely extinguished.

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