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Critical fire danger for northern Wisconsin this week

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Critical fire danger for northern Wisconsin this week

The DNR is not issuing burning permits in the 21 counties at the highest risk for wildfires this week.

May 15, 2023 1:07 PM CDT

By: Jimmie Kaska

AMERY, Wis. (WLAK) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says that residents in the northern part of the state should avoid burning materials outdoors due to critical wildfire danger.

The DNR said that in the spring, the northern part of the state takes the longest to “green up,” and when combined with windy, dry, and mild weather, creates elevated outdoor fire risks.

On Monday, the DNR designated a line roughly along and north of Highway 8 as very high danger for fire, its fourth-highest designation of five categories for fire risk. A few north-central Wisconsin counties are also at high fire danger, according to the DNR.

A fire weather watch is in effect for northern Wisconsin as well. Counties in the fire risk area include Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marinette, Oconto, Oneida, Polk, Price, Sawyer, Vilas, Washburn, Barron, Chippewa, Marathon, Menominee, Rusk, Shawano and Taylor counties. The DNR is suspending all permits for outdoor burning in the 21 counties in the areas it has burning permit authority.

The DNR said that the fire danger will be elevated for most of this week. Rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday in northern Wisconsin. Southern Wisconsin is not considered at risk for wildfires as vegetation has grown and the southern part of the state has received seasonal rainfall.

So far this year, there have been 281 wildfires in Wisconsin, burning over 3,358 acres across the state. Most of these have been caused by debris burning. That includes a large fire near Fort McCoy in April.

Here are some fire safety tips from the DNR:

  • Avoid outdoor burning until conditions improve. Burn permits for debris burning are currently suspended in numerous counties.
  • Operate equipment (chainsaws, off-road vehicles, lawn mowers, etc.) early in the morning or late in the day to avoid sparks at peak burn hours.
  • Secure trailer chains to keep them from dragging.
  • Delay having campfires until the evening hours as fire conditions tend to improve; keep them small and contained. Make sure they are completely extinguished before leaving them unattended.
  • Report fires early, dial 911.

You can check on the fire danger status in your county on the DNR’s website.

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