"MONSTER FIRE AT MINONG" EXAMINES ONE OF THE LARGEST WILDFIRES IN WISCONSIN HISTORY
"Bill Matthias shows how a courageous band of volunteers stood up to one of the most powerful forces of nature to save people's homes and lives. 'Monster Fire' tells the incredible story of a modern conflagration that opened an era of fires in the Great North Woods. Anyone with a cabin on a lake will want to hear its cautionary tale."-Rocky Barker, author of "Scorched Earth: How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America"
Ignited by a single match on April 30, 1977, the Five Mile Tower Fire raged out of control for seventeen hours. It would be one of the largest wildland fires in Wisconsin history, ultimately destroying more than 13,000 acres of land and sixty-three buildings.
As a column of black pine smoke reached high in the sky, citizens from Minong, Chicog, Webster, Gordon, Wascott, Hayward, Spooner, Solon Springs, and other communities began showing up to help. The grassy field designated as fire headquarters quickly became a hub of activity, jammed with trucks, school buses, dozers on trailers, dump trucks, tanker trucks, fuel trucks, and hundreds of people waiting to sign in. More than nine hundred came in the first four hours, clogging the road with traffic in both directions. Headquarters personnel worked valiantly to coordinate citizens and DNR workers in a buildup of people and equipment unprecedented in the history of Wisconsin firefighting. All told, 1600 citizens showed up to fight the blaze, including a group of teenagers from the local high school.
Based on his own experiences during the long battle, plus dozens of interviews and other eyewitness accounts, Bill Matthias presents an in-depth look at the Five Mile Tower Fire, the brave citizens who helped fight it, the important changes made to firefighting laws and procedures in its aftermath, and Wisconsin firefighting practices in the 21st century.
Media: For review copies of the book, author or book photos, or book event information, please contact Melanie Roth, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 816 State St., Madison, Wis. 53706; (608) 264-6465; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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