By Terry Kovarik
As fire crews from all over the nation battle wildfires out west, news reports have shown pictures of so-called “Firenadoes” fast moving funnel clouds of fire that devastate wooded areas and communities. A Wisconsin fire fighter and author says that phenomenon is well known to people in Northeast Wisconsin. Green Bay Metro Fire Fighter David Siegel wrote a book on the changes made in local fire fighting strategies from 1836 through 1895. Wild fires in 1871 destroyed Peshtigo and Door County communities such as Williamsonville near Brussels. Siegel says video of the current California fires are strikingly similar to the 1871 Northeast Wisconsin fires.
Tornado Memorial Park along County Highway DK commemorates the Williamsonville disaster. 60 of the community’s 77 residents sought refuge in an open field only to be incinerated where they stood by a fiery tornado.