After a busy weekend of fire activity across the state, the Wisconsin DNR is asking folks to remain vigilant and avoid burning as fire danger remains very high across most of Wisconsin.
With continuing dry conditions and high winds, the DNR is anticipating possible powerline fires and other causes resulting from unintended sparks. Many counties have suspended DNR burning permits.
Areas with VERY HIGH fire danger include Adams, Ashland, Bayfield, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Door, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Florence, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green Lake, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Monroe, Oconto, Outagamie, Pepin, Pierce, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Sheboygan, St Croix, Trempealeau, Vilas, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood counties.
Areas with HIGH fire danger include Barron, Burnett, Columbia, Dodge, Lincoln, Oneida, Ozaukee, Polk, Sauk, Taylor, Washburn and Washington counties.
DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele says most wildfires are happening between 3-5 p.m. and almost all of those fires are human-caused. The second-leading cause of wildfires is equipment sparks. She recommends knocking out fieldwork in the mornings and evenings to avoid the hottest part of the day. While that’s not always possible, she stresses the importance of having a fire extinguisher on hand.
Green-up is progressing nicely in the southern part of the state, but the northern part is still quite dry with lots of fuel on the ground like dead leaves and dry grasses. Although there is some rain in the forecast, it is spotty, and there are minimal chances of rain particularly in northeastern Wisconsin. This, combined with wind gusts of up to 50 mph in some areas, put many counties, especially in the north, at peak wildfire risk.
More than 70 wildfires occurred over the weekend, making it the busiest weekend of the season so far. Debris burning and equipment accounted for the majority of these wildfires.
FIRE SAFETY TIPS
avoid all outdoor burning until conditions improve
operate equipment early in the morning or late in the day to avoid sparks at peak burn hours
secure dragging trailer chains
delay campfires until the evening hours as fire conditions tend to improve; make sure they are completely extinguished before leaving them unattended