A massive marsh fire tore through Fond du Lac County today - Burning 400 acres of state owned land and another 200 of private property. It took crews over 4 hours to contain the blaze as firefighters and farmers fought to save property.
The fire was spotted just after 11 a.m, by a DNR plane doing aerial surveillance.
"At that point it was about 70 acres," says DNR Spokesman Ed Culhane. "[It was] burning intensely."
Within hours, the blaze had spread to over 600 acres, threatening dozens of homes and structures.
With his brother's property in danger, Mark Vossekuil sprang to action, firing up his tractor and using a chisel plow to dig a trench around the property.
"My brother has cornfields there, so it would have burned across all the stalks and the stalks are valuable on the land," he says.
The fire eventually receded away from the property, but firefighters spent the day using similar tactics on local farms. The blaze was contained around 4:00. No structures were lost.
"I think they used pretty much standard techniques," says Culhane. "They got a little lucky here that this fire happened in an area that was surrounded by some major roads. So they basically were able to keep it contained within a section."
Culhane says the fire spread quickly thanks to tall, dry grass.
"This is what we call the fire season in Wisconsin," he says. "The snows melted, but we haven't had time to green up, so you've got a lot of dry vegetation on the ground."
Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, but at this point they believe it was human error.
The DNR will continue to monitor affects on wildlife in the area.
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