By Shereen Siewert

Heavy smoke from wildfires prompted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Thursday to issue an air quality alert for Wausau and Marathon County.

Firefighters in Wausau responded at about 9 a.m. Thursday to the area of 12th and McClellan Streets in Wausau for a report of visible smoke in the area. SAFER also investigated reports of smoke, but fire officials ultimately determined there was no fire to extinguish.

The fires in northern Minnesota and Quetico Provincial Park were active again on Wednesday. The Greenwood fire grew about 5000 acres to 26,000 acres. Smoke from those areas drifted into central Wisconsin, resulting in air quality advisories in more than a dozen counties.

Sensitive groups including children, elderly residents and people with respiratory and cardiac concerns should avoid all strenuous activity outdoors. All others should avoid prolonged strenuous outdoor activity, DNR officials say.

Additional information on Wisconsin air quality can be found at:

Precipitation chances move into the area starting Thursday night into the weekend. The air quality alert is in effect until midnight on Friday.