Intense Wildfire Rages In Douglas County


UPDATE AT 9:00 PM: The Douglas County Sheriff has asked for police help from elsewhere in the region to assist with sealing off a perimeter around the fire area.Also, people in the German Lake area of Barnes Township have been told they must evacuate.

UPDATE AT 8:42pm:The fire is spreading into Bayfield County, driven by 30 mph winds.Officials are evacuating an area near Barnes called Potawotomi Estates.

An out-of-control wildfire is forcing the evacuation of part of Douglas County at this hour.

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The fire began at 3:30 this afternoon, and its size is unknown right now.Douglas County emergency management director Keith Kesler says they’ve asked for assistance from anyone who will come, including crews from Minnesota: “This is the real deal. This is not under control.”

Kesler says the fire near the Bayfield County town of Barnes is being bombed with water from airplanes and heavy equipment is being brought in. But it’s a furious fire in a dry, pine area: “I’m sitting on a road right now, and the smoke is so thick that I’m going to turn around. I’m not going to drive any further for fear I might run into somebody that I can’t see.”

An evacuation center has been set up in the Barnes Town Hall.