Evacuations ordered: 3,100-acre wildfire burns in Monroe County, 100% contained

The DNR said previous communications indicated the fire was in Jackson County, but mapping now shows the fire is in Monroe County near the Jackson County border.
Posted at 9:51 AM, Apr 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-14 17:17:44-04

Friday 4:15 p.m. update: 100% of the fire has been contained after three days of fighting. Efforts remain focused on identifying and extinguishing hotspots.


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said agencies are battling a roughly 3,100-acre wildfire in Monroe County. As of Friday morning, 77% of the fire is contained.

The DNR said previous communications indicated the fire was in Jackson County, but mapping now shows the fire is in Monroe County near the Jackson County border.

WATCH: Officials provided an update Thursday evening on the 3,000-acre wildfire near an army base in Monroe County

Officials provide update on 3,000-acre wildfire in Monroe County

The fire began at the north end of Fort McCoy and initially sparked voluntary evacuations Wednesday into Thursday.

As of Thursday morning, no one had been injured in the fire, but three structures were damaged and one shed was destroyed. By the evening, an additional 85 structures were deemed in danger and evacuations were ordered.

The cause of the wildfire is under investigation, but Fort McCoy posted on social media earlier in the day saying the Army National Guard was conducting controlled burn training exercises.

"We do know that we were doing prescribed burns," shared Major General Matthew Baker with Ft. McCoy. "Risk assessments were done, evaluations were done— we have no further confirmation on how this is going, but we are going to do a really in-depth investigation on this."

Whether or not the controlled burns caused the wildfire, has not been determined. Major General Baker said this fire is happening during the height of training season and will affect the base's plans for this weekend.

"We have about 2,000 soldiers coming in for the weekend to train," said Gen. Baker. "We’ve had to adjust the training down to South Post we have a no pyro, no live ammo mandate right now— that means there will be no pyrotechnics anywhere on Fort McCoy for training."

According to a news release, Wisconsin State Patrol is monitoring smoke on the interstate and will shut the area down if the wildfire conditions warrant that.

The fire is mostly burning oak and jack pine. According to the DNR, resources on scene include:

  • 12 heavy units, 18 engines and 1 air attack from DNR
  • Fort McCoy, US Forest Service and Department of Defense (DOD)
  • 3 Wisconsin National Guard blackhawks
  • 2 hand crews from Department of Corrections
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs/Ho-Chunk enroute
  • 5 fire departments assigned (Warrens, Hixton, Merillan, Alma Center)
  • Law enforcement officers from state patrol
  • Monroe and Jackson County Sheriff's Offices
  • DNR wardens and military police
  • Emergency management from Monroe and Jackson County Emergency Management/WEM

The DNR says fire evacuations have occurred for Arcadia Ave. between Smothers Road, Millston Road, and Abbey Ave. to Blueberry Road, including Archer Road and Arrowhead Road. There is a hard closure of Arcadia Ave. from Smothers Road to Blueberry Road. An evacuation center is located at the Warrens Community Center, 601 Pine Street.
The fire is so big that TMJ4 News is picking up the smoke plume on our weather radar. The Lake Geneva Fire Department put out an alert Thursday night for people with respiratory problems as the smoke blows our way.

The state patrol is monitoring smoke on the interstate and said will close it down again if needed.

A fire warning was in effect again Thursday as low humidity, warm temperatures, and high winds lead to dangerous conditions for burning. The DNR said these conditions are continuing to elevate fire danger.

The fire in Fort McCoy is not the only one to break out as a result of the current dry conditions. There was also a 100+ acre fire outside of Necedah, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin National Guard said in a statement two Wisconsin Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 in Madison, Wisconsin were flown on April 12 to Necedah in Juneau County to fight those wildfires.

Evacuations were conducted near 19th St. West, 12th Ave., and 11th Ave.

No injuries have been reported as a result of that incident. Similar to the fire in Fort McCoy, oak, jack pine, and grass are the main things being burned.

The fires come after Gov. Tony Evers issued a State of Emergency across the state.

The fire in Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

“Protecting Wisconsinites from the destructive danger of wildfire is a top priority. Although northern Wisconsin still has considerable snow cover, the danger is extreme across much of the state today,” said Gov. Evers.

According to a news release from the governor's office, his Executive Order calling for the State of Emergency will assist Wisconsin in rapidly mobilizing the National Guard's Blackhawk helicopters to areas in the state most in need of fire suppression resources.

“This executive order will give the Department of Natural Resources the ability to have all available resources ready to be quickly dispatched at critical moments to keep fires small and minimize damage," Evers said.

Those resources were used to battle fires across Wisconsin.

It’s about time to watch on your time. Stream local news and weather 24/7 by searching for “TMJ4” on your device.

Available for download on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and more.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip