UPDATE:Ravine fire smolders, smokesThe fire at W10491 County Rd. FF, is contained but is continuing to burn as of Thursday, Feb. 23.
UPDATE:The fire at W10491 County Rd. FF, is contained but is continuing to burn as of Thursday, Feb. 23.
According to town chairperson Diana Smith, the River Falls fire department, town of River Falls and Pierce County DNR are all aware of the situation and will continue to monitor the situation.
"The wood will continue to burn for some time," Smith said.
As of this time, no injuries have been reported.
Smith did warn of heavy smoke in the area.
ORIGINAL:Firefighters responded about 4 p.m. Sunday to reports of a ‘ditch fire’ near the address of W 10491 County Rd. FF, property owned by Wayne and Julie Betlach in the town of River Falls.
A deep ravine contains piles of wood and brush that caught fire for an unknown reason, according to Fire Chief Scott Nelson. He said the wood had been placed in the ravine to stabilize erosion. He said about 25 firefighters responded to the call but faced difficult logistics with the flames and their source at least 50 feet away at the bottom of the deep ravine.
“A lot of the wood is under the ground and still burning,” Nelson said.
After dousing the fire with 50,000 gallons of water in four hours, firefighters had successfully prevented the fire from spreading, but the wood continued smoldering.
Nelson said the Fire Department collaborated with the land owner, town board chairperson, and the area DNR warden to decide that since getting to it would require heavy, specialized equipment, the best approach was to let the fire smolder, presuming it would eventually burn itself out.
Nelson said firefighters were keeping a close eye on the wood and still applying more water but said neighbors and passersby would likely see smoke until the embers burn completely.
“There will be some heavy smoke in the area for the next few days,” said the chief.
Responding to the emergency were Fire Departments from River Falls and Prescott, as well as Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies.