Northern Wisconsin wildfire spares churches in Superior Diocese

DOUGLAS COUNTY — Last week’s wildfire that scorched 9,000 acres and destroyed 17 homes left Catholic church properties in the region unharmed. Churches closest to the Barnes Township fire were St. Anthony, Lake Nebagamon; St. Pius X, Solon Springs; and St. Anthony, Gordon — all in the southeast portion of the county.

“I am sure that our parishioners reached out to their fellow parishioners who they knew were affected by the fire,” said Fr. Jim Kinney, pastor for the Gordon and Solon Springs parishes. “I know that several had to be accommodated with at least a temporary place to stay until they could return to homes threatened by the fire.” He said one parishioner went around seeing just who needed help and relayed an offer from another parishioner who offered shelter for those who had lost their homes.

No one was killed in the fire, now called the Germann Road Fire, which is where it broke out. It’s believed that logging equipment being used in the area accidentally started the blaze.

Barnes Township is sparsely populated. Many of its homes are occasionally occupied cabins and cottages on or near lakes. The area is also home to thousands of acres of neatly cultivated pine forests that flow in orderly rows over and around the area’s hills and waterways.

About nine miles north of the inferno, St. Anthony Church and grounds in Lake Nebagamon also stayed safe. As one of the few remaining old wood churches of the diocese, St. Anthony’s is especially vulnerable in a fire. Most of the diocese’s churches are now constructed of brick, stone, concrete and other fire resistant materials, in part because many previous wooden Catholic churches burned.
continue at Superior Catholic Herald

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