Catherine Regan, wildfire prevention specialist with the state DNR, says her department has been seeing an increase in “equipment caused fires.” ATVs, logging equipment, hot exhaust systems parked on dry grass, etc. Regan says the Badger State has already experienced quite a few fires this year.
“Year to date fires we’ve had about 1,500 wildfires burning over 3,000 acres. And that’s pretty typical for this time of year.”
And if you think the recent cooler temps and a threat of frost in some parts helped to minimize the risk, think again. Those factors actually make the fire danger worse. Regan says frost and cooler temps cause plant life to die, and dead vegetation is more flammable. As warmer temps dry out the vegetation, the fire danger goes up. Planning a staycation up north? Regan offers this advice…
“Anybody who’s going to be outdoors recreating over Labor Day weekend and beyond just make sure you’re aware of the burning conditions and always consider alternatives to burning — pack a cold lunch, consider using a little propane stove.”
Wisconsin’s mid-section is “abnormally dry,” the upper half is experiencing “moderate drought” conditions, while a big part of the northwest is “severe.” (U.S. Drought Monitor)