The Aftermath of the Devastating Forest Fire in Northern Wisconsin

May 17, 2013 Travis Dewitz

The largest forest fire in 33 swept across northern Wisconsin May 14th and 15th. The Wisconsin DNR reported that the fire consumed 8,131 acres of forest land across Douglas and Bayfield Counties. The DNR reported 47 structures have been lost, including 17 homes, 15 garages, nine out buildings and six unknown. Firefighters have saved 77 structures, including 42 houses. By the time I made into the area near town of Gordon, 95% of the fire was contained with only small spots of smoke rising from the scorched landscape. There was absolutely nothing left of the structures that burnt down but I was amazed by the number of homes that were saved. The homes that were saved were completely surrounded by charcoaled trees and grasses. The utility companies had many power boxes replaced with new ones even though trees were still smouldering nearby. The speed in which everyone came together to fight the fire and recover from it was amazing. Even more amazing was that there were no fatalities. As I documented the fire zone, I came across many razed structures, ruptured fuel tanks, a leaking propane tank, burnt out vehicles, melted aluminum boat, just to name the major things. I focused my camera to document the destruction that this massive forest fire left in its wake along with the beauty of the scorched landscape ready to start new.


You can buy prints from this Forest Fire Photo Series Here.

travis dewitz pines portrait suit thumb web PhotographTravis Dewitz is a remarkable photographer in the Chippewa Valley. He is well known for photographing local sceneries, landmarks, venues, buildings and people in various and ingenious ways. Though you not know him personally, his work provides a unique foundation of our local community and his photographs are unmistakable. Dewitz’s pictures are an impressive feat and preserve a moment; long after our travels are over, and our memories faded, photos are what remind us of the adventures we had and the connections to the people we met. Learn more about him here.

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Travis Dewitz

I. Love. Photography. I love it. It lightens my heart, fills my soul, and allows me to capture life the way that I see it. I constantly yearn to show life in a way that hasn’t been seen before, to bring images to people in a fresh and innovative way. My favorite focus in photography, my specialty I guess you would say, is Railroad Photography & Art. Something about the rumbling of these great, big, beautiful machines. The way they shake the earth beneath you as they rumble by, how they invade your chest and you can feel the rumble inside you. The plumes of heat on a hot day represented in a heat wave. Snaking through a western valley, void of trees or any other distracting element. Just the train, by itself, in it’s own inexplicable beauty and power. From the time I was a child, they have captured my imagination. I’ve recently gotten into portraiture a bit, and I want to bring some of my experiences with trains to that arena. To capture the power of a person, the sadness, loneliness, omniscience, pride, love, & carefree spirit in a way that hasn’t been done before. I want people to look at themselves in a photograph I have taken, and see a side of themselves that they think no one else has ever seen. Dewitz Photography is all about capturing a moment in a way that has never been seen before, capturing a beauty that some never knew was even there.