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Wildfire forces evacuations in northern Wisconsin

CREATED May. 15, 2013 - UPDATED: May. 15, 2013

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  • Video by wtmj.com

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  • Image by WDNR photo

  • Image by WDNR photo

  • Image by WDNR photo

  • Image by WDNR photo

  • Image by WDNR photo

  • Image by WDNR photo

  • Image by WDNR photo

  • Image by WDNR photo

  • Image by WDNR photo

TOWN OF GORDON - A smoky wildfire in northwestern Wisconsin spreading to 8,700 acres has destroyed at least 50 buildings and forced dozens of people to leave their homes.

It started in area where workers were doing logging operations.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spokesman Ed Culhane says officials are investigating whether a spark from a piece of logging equipment started the fire around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in Douglas County.

The state Department of Natural Resources says the fire in Douglas County is about 90 percent contained as of Wednesday morning. 

Culhane said Wednesday morning it could still be days before they get the fire completely put out. No injuries have been reported.

The state is bringing inNational Guard helicopters and big firefighting planes from Canada.

The fire is roughly six miles long and about a mile wide.

Click here for more coverage of the wildfires from WQOW-TV in Eau Claire.

The DNR says the wildfire was first reported near the Town of Barnes Tuesday. Conservation wardens went door-to-door in the area to alert homeowners of the fire danger.

About 40 evacuees spent the night at Drummond High School.

Members of 17 local, state and federal firefighting crews worked through the night to contain the fire, fueled by pine and mixed hardwoods.

The Wisconsin DNR says it has issued a red flag warning in Florence and Marinette counties, and suspended all DNR burning permits.

Do any of you know someone affected by the northern Wisconsin wildfires?  Tell your story! E-mail cholyoke@tmj4.com.

Cody Holyoke contributed to this story.