Fire In The Pines!!!!

As a Spring Green Area firefighter, the alarm that we now most dread hearing is....

"Fire In The Pines!!!"

It is likely not a question of "If", but "When."

Four years ago, we toured the Post House Restaurant and Hotel on a regular meeting night. When we got to the basement, everyone began to think the same thing -  " If a fire starts here, there is no way to stop it!"   
The way this place is constructed, any fire would be impossible to fight. At that time, the alarm we most dreaded hearing was "Fire in the Post House".

Three years ago, we asked the Richland Center Fire Department to bring their aerial truck to practice with us for a mock fire at the Post House. On a Monday evening, our two fire departements practiced how we might set up for a mythical fire that could possibly happen someday.... We parked their aerial truck right out front. It was a pleasant meeting of the guys! Fun!

Two years ago, it happened. We parked their aerial truck right out front.  Over 100 firefighters from the area were totally blown away, unable to control the fire. My thoughts were - we had failed - totally!

After an Easter night spent watching this building falling into ruins, my spirits were totally crushed. Despite all our shiny equipment and planning and training, it was a total loss. There was no way to stop it.

A few hours later I returned to the village to help clean up, still in a daze. Driving toward the scene, a bright orange hand - made sign along the street said, "Thanks Firemen". I cried, and again writing this - years later. We could not save the Post House, but we did stop the fire from spreading to the Gard Theatre, The Parlor, apartments, and more... A victory??

We did what we could. My Thanks to the person who made the sign - I will never forget that.

Will we be able to stop a fire if it starts in the Pinelands?

Every day, some of us drive through the pinelands between Spring Green and Lone Rock. Everyone thinks the same thing.... "If a fire starts here, there is no way to stop it!?"
We have had our "mock fires", we practice setting back fires, and have a plan with the area fire departments & DNR.....

Someday, it may happen! If weather conditions are right, there will be no way to stop it!

We have asked the residents of the Pinelands to think about a "mock fire"
and prepare for what might happen - if.....

My recommendations are;

1. Prepare in advance - a Defensible Space around your home.
      If you are confident of your plan, you may choose to stay and defend your home....
      If you have a defensible home, a Fire Department may choose to attempt to help save it.

2. Plan to evacuate if a fire occurs - you may have only a few minutes to act!
      Know what you will take and what route you will use - all family must members know the plan!
      (More people die while fleeing a fire than those caught in it.)
      Leave a message so authorities know that you are safe.

      Either way, I recommend that you have full Fire Insurance on your property!

Pineland Folks, you are all in this together. You are tied with a cord that can not be denied.

About half of the area is totally way beyond reasonable risk - you are a disaster just waiting to happen.

You have a Pinelands Association. Just recently, You have stopped a potential noisy ATV trail and a potential Ugly Sand Pit - Wow!!!

What are you going to do when a potential fire starts???? Maybe you should get together and talk about this one?? Before it happens?????

Jim Birkemeier - firefighter