Welch Lodge burns during wildfire ignited by downed power line

National Park Service firefighters burned off from nearby roads to contain the wildfire.

The historic Welch Lodge, located north of Akers Ferry on the upper Current River, was destroyed in a wildfire that ignited on April 12, during warm, windy, and dry weather conditions. 

Despite valiant efforts by several local fire departments and wildland firefighters from Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR), the Welch Lodge was a total loss as a result of the blaze. 

The Missouri State Fire Marshall and wildfire investigators from the National Park Service (NPS) jointly investigated the wildfire and loss of the structure. 

A member of the Jadwin Volunteer Fire Department works to keep the wildfire from spreading to the nearby unoccupied caretaker’s house.

NPS investigators determined the origin of the wildfire was a downed power line resulting from a tree that fell across the line a short distance from the lodge.

The fire was first spotted around 2 p.m. by park visitors who had been fishing at the river landing nearby, as they were returning to their vehicle. They immediately drove to Akers Ferry Canoe Rental to report the fire.  

Firefighters from Timber Community Fire Protection District were the first to arrive at Welch, observing that the wildfire had already reached the structure and was spreading quickly through the attic space.  

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