Fires scorch 120 acres, threaten county’s Bruce Mound ski area

Two human-caused wildfires that sparked nearly simultaneously on April 29 charred more than 120 acres of mostly Clark County forestland and underscored the need for people to be careful in this spring’s suddenly dry conditions.
A blaze dubbed the Bruce Mound Fire by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources burned more than 90 acres, and flames came close to the chalet and other structures at Clark County’s Bruce Mound Winter Recreation Area in the town of Dewhurst a few miles west of Hatfield. A second fire, called the Sand Fire, whipped through 34 acres only four miles from the Bruce Mound blaze, and both fires were burning at the same time before being brought under control before nightfall on Sunday.
Amy Luebke, a DNR forestry specialist, said investigators have determined that the Sand Fire was started by people who were cooking outdoors, and the Bruce Mound blaze came from improper debris burning.
“Both were human-caused, but accidental in nature,” Luebke said.
The fires came as the DNR has issued a Red Flag Warning, the highest it implements. That means conditions are extremely ripe for more fires to occur, with warm temperatures, low humidity, wind, and a plethora of dry tinder all contributing factors.
“We’re looking at all these dormant materials. It hasn’t greened up yet,” Luebke said. “This is a normal spring for us.”

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