By Brandi Makuski
It was all hands on deck Saturday morning with a Metro Fire response to Iverson Park after a caller reported seeing early morning flames.
Firefighters from Stevens Point, Plover and Hull all responded to a staging area in the parking lot of Hilltop Pub & Grill beginning shortly before 7 AM on Oct. 21. Some vehicles entered the park via a fire road between the parking lot and the Iverson entrance.
According to Stevens Point Assistant Fire Chief Jodi Banganz, the fire “lit up a portion of the sky” when crews began to arrive just before sunrise.
The fire started on a ridge inside a heavily-wooded area of the park, which Baganz said “rolled down into a marsh.”
Helping feed the fire was extensive “dry pine straw”, he said, and debris leftover from the June 12 storm, which knocked over thousands of trees across the area.
Baganz said because the tree canopy was still largely intact, there wasn’t much dew on the ground to impede the fire’s path.
The blaze grew to about 30×70 yards at its peak, he said, adding it took about 90 minutes to extinguish completely.
“We had smoldering, a lot of dead brush and trees in there, and when those get going, they have to be cut apart and split, so we have no smoldering around the edges,” he said.
About 25 firefighters responded to the scene, along with the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources and Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office. No injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known.