Stockton Deputy Fire Chief Brian Higgins, Tender Operator Luke Mason, and Firefighter Ryan Haney install the department's wreath for the 2023 Keep the Wreath Green campaign, which kicks off on each Thanksgiving. (Metro Wire photo)

Firefighters: ‘Keep the Wreath Green’ in 2023

By Brandi Makuski

Portage Co. firefighters are preparing for the 2023 Keep the Wreath Green campaign.

The fire prevention awareness campaign takes place annually between Thanksgiving and the end of December. Fire departments across the county hang an exterior wreath in public view

For each fire that occurs in the county, departments replace one green bulb with a red one to spread awareness of the increased fire danger during the holiday season.

A single white bulb is included on each wreath in remembrance of all fallen firefighters. Some departments also include a blue bulb in memory of fallen police officers.

The 2022 holiday season saw the highest number of fires in recent memory. According to Stevens Point Assistant Fire Chief Dennis Zvara, a total of nine fires were reported during last year’s Keep the Wreath Green campaign. Fires were reported in Hull, Almond, Grand Rapids, Plover, Dewey, Stockton, and Stevens Point, he said.

(Data Courtesy SPFD)

Stevens Point Fire Chief Jb Moody said in his 20+ years at SPFD, he doesn’t recall ever seeing so many fires during the campaign.

“It’s not our finest moment there,” he said. “It’s really an eye-opener, and we need to do better.”