Cottonville WildFire: May 5th 2005


In the morning of May 5th 2005, Wisconsin's worst forest fire of the past 25 years was started just East of Big Roche-A-Cri Lake. The fire spread into 3 Townships of Adams County over the course of 11 hours; Big Flats, Preston and Colburn. I was in Monroe Township taking photos of some listings for Landman Realty when I first saw the smoke from the Wildfire at Cty Rd Z & Beaver Lane. I wanted to get closer so I moved to Rabbit Rock, the wind pickup with a big gust almost knocking down my Tripod. At this time, the fire grew and started moving faster on a Northeast path. Airplanes looked like small flies against the mountain of billowing smoke. Some of the flames from the wildlife were 20+ feet over the tree line. The fire moved quickly through the pines leaving just a smoldering skeleton of a trunk and branches. Well maintained yards with short green grass and trees farther from the structures had a better survival rate compared to long brown grass which can be found find around many vacation properties. You can find the DNR yard maintenance the new recommendation at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website. Call the WI. DNR burning permit restriction hotline at 888-WIS-BURN (947-2876). Photos -


Conditions on the Day fo the Cottonville / Big Flats Wildfire


  • Temperature = 75 degrees, Humidity = 18
  • Average SW wind speed = 14 mph
  • 30 Homes Destroyed - About 300 Saved
  • 60 Outbuildings & Trailers Destroyed
  • 50+ DNR ground units & 20 Fire Departments
  • 3,410 Acres, 7 miles long & 1 mile wide




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