Wisconsin wildfire started by logging operations

Blaze destroyed 17 homes, charred more than 8,000 acres
Wisconsin wildfire started by logging operations
Officials said the Germann Road Fire is the largest forest fire in Wisconsin since 1980.

Investigators say a large wildfire caused by logging operations in northwestern Wisconsin wasn’t intentionally set and criminal charges aren’t expected.

The Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that negligence wasn’t involved in the blaze, which destroyed 17 homes and forced dozens of people to evacuate before it was contained Wednesday night.

The DNR said a logging equipment operator noticed smoke coming from the equipment while harvesting timber Tuesday afternoon. The operator unsuccessfully tried to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher while another operator called 911.

No injuries have been reported from the fire, which charred more than 8,000 acres.

The fire started near Simms Lake in Douglas County, 40 miles southeast of Duluth, Minnesota.

   The DNR says Douglas County prosecutors don’t plan to file any criminal charges.