After a nearly four-month Department of Natural Resources investigation into the cause of the Germann Road Fire, a commercial logging company will be billed for more than $600,000 after the investigation determined the company’s negligence caused the forest fire to start and spread. Had an on-board fire extinguishing system been properly maintained, the blaze could have likely been snuffed out before it did any damage, according to a WDNR press release issued Monday afternoon.
The fire was the state’s largest in 33 years and burned 7,442 acres in Douglas County.
A logging crew was harvesting timber on industrial timber lands when the fire began. At the time, the crew acknowledged the fire had started at the work site and that they had unsuccessfully attempted to contain it. However, the investigation found that the crew and company, Ray Duerr Logging, of Rib Lake, Wis., withheld information from department law enforcement officials.
The investigation determined the crew had attempted to contain the fire using a fire extinguisher and a pressurized water system installed on the harvesting equipment and called 911, but the company was negligent for failing to maintain equipment at the logging site that could have prevented, or contained the fire, which was started by the cutting head of a Timberjack 840.