‘Keep the Wreath Green’ 2022 had highest number of fires in recent memory, chief says

By Brandi Makuski

Portage Co. firefighters closed out 2022’s Keep the Wreath Green campaign with the highest number of fires in recent memory.

According to 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)

Fire stations across Portage Co. display a wreath with green bulbs each year between Thanksgiving and the end of December. 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.

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.”