- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

WAUTOMA, Wis. (AP) - Warm weather and dry conditions helped fuel wildfires in central Wisconsin, where three houses caught fire and 15 other homes had to be evacuated Saturday.

All three houses that caught fire Saturday in Juneau County were used for storage and no one lived in them, according to Catherine Koele, the wildfire prevention specialist for the state Department of Resources. That fire was contained by Saturday evening, she said.

In Waushara County, about 15 houses were evacuated near Wautoma for a wildfire that burned about 50 acres of forest and swamp land, she said. Officials used two airplanes to drop retardant gel, two Black Hawk helicopters to drop water and six fire departments to help out. She said the fire was contained by 5:15 p.m. and no structures were damaged. No one was reported injured, she said.

Koele said it’s hard to have fires in multiple areas of the state with limited resources. She urged safety, noting 98 percent of wildfires are caused by people.

“It’s important we don’t have more fires than what we are already dealing with,” he said.

There were also less serious wildfires in Menominee, Richland and Taylor counties Saturday.

The entire state was at a high or very high chance of fire danger Saturday. The Department of Natural Resources also suspended all burning permits across the state.

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