UPDATED Monday, November 12, 2012 --- 8:35 a.m.
A fast-moving marsh fire at the Lake Mills State Wildlife Area located near Hope Lake Road and County Highway G in the Town of Lake Mills was called in by a passer-by at 9:52 p.m. on Saturday. The call described the fire as being about four to five car lengths long at Hope Lake Road east of the parking lot at the public hunting grounds.
Paid On-Call Firefighters from the Lake Mills Fire Department were the first to respond, and they were in route from the City of Lake Mills fire station within 12 minutes, having already issued the first of four alarms through MABAS, the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System. This first alarm summoned firefighters and equipment from fire departments in Johnson Creek, Waterloo, Deerfield, Watertown and Cambridge.
When the LMFD arrived on scene four minutes later, the fire was estimated by Assistant Chief Mark Yandre as already involving four to five acres of mostly wild lands within the state’s wildlife area.
Due to the high winds and limited accessibility, Yandre determined that the fire would continue spreading fast and that more firefighters and equipment would be needed. He issued the second MABAS alarm at 10:08, which was answered by fire fighters from fire departments in Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Helenville, Johnson Creek, Cottage Grove, and Watertown, and an ambulance from Lake Mills EMS.
At 11:22 p.m. a third alarm went out, which brought responding units and personnel from fire departments at Sullivan, Marshall, Cottage Grove, and a Johnson Creek Ambulance. At around 3:00 a.m., Assistant Chief Yandre determined that due to the physical exertion required of the firefighters battling the blaze from the ground, and the limitations in accessing the fire as it continued to engulf more area, a fourth MABAS alarm went out to summon two task force divisions from Walworth and Waukesha counties, which were led by Chief Bill Rice of the Wauwatosa Fire Department. Rice is the Regional MABAS Coordinator. These task forces took over the scene at 4:45 a.m.
The fire did not do any damage to the four homes that were in the area, although firefighters and equipment were positioned near the homes to protect those structures in case the fire reached them. Residents were advised to gather valuables, necessary medications, and pets, so they could leave at a moment’s notice, but no one needed to be evacuated. One of the four homes was protected by the pre-application of foam fire retardant and the surrounding brush was watered as a precaution. The fire was stopped about 50 to 70 yards from that home.
Although hot spots were still smoldering over 12 hours after the fire of unknown cause began, the fast-spreading fire involving approximately 250 acres was extinguished by personnel and equipment from forty-three departments and four EMS units out of the counties of Jefferson, Dane, Walworth, and Waukesha. Department of Natural Resources personnel are still on scene from DNR’s Division of Forestry and Cooperative Fire Management.
Updated: Sunday, November 11, 2012 -- 8:07 a.m.
Lake Mills Fire Department officials tell NBC15 the marsh fire near Lake Mills has finally been extinguished.
No one was injured and no property was damaged.
Firefighters are still waiting to put out hot spots.
Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 -- 6:35 a.m.
Firefighters are battling a huge brush fire in Jefferson County that started late Saturday night.
It first broke out around 10 p.m. Saturday near the corner of County Rd. G and Hope Lake Rd. That's just south of Lake Mills and on DNR marshland.
At least 14 fire departments have been called in so far, Including five from Dane County.
Jefferson County dispatchers say high winds are helping to spread the fire in a hurry.
Right now we don't know how the fire started. No injuries have been reported.
Officials also say no homes are currently at risk and no one has been evacuated.
Residents around Lake Mills are no stranger to marsh fires. A similar fire broke out just two weeks ago and at least one other marsh fire was reported this summer.