Wisconsin’s first widespread risk of severe fire weather is moving into the southern portion of Wisconsin, according to DNR Wildland Fire Specialist Catherine Koele. Carelessness or inattentiveness are two big causes of much larger fires. “Any time you introduce fire to the outdoors, whether it be through debris burning, smoking, camp fires, equipment that causes sparks. You’re placing the wildland at risk, as well as people and property.”
The warmer weather has many people getting outside to clean up their yards from piles of leaves, brush and pine needles, but the DNR will suspend burning permits in some west-and south-central counties through Thursday. Koele suggests that property owners who’ve already burned yard debris should double check to make certain the remains are 100 percent cold. Rising temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds threaten to reignite smoldering embers.
Humans cause 98 percent of wildfires. “Those are fires that we have the ability to prevent, and it’s really important to know that’s your responsibility — it’s all our responsibilities. Any time a fire occurs it places people and our fire fighters at risk.”
Officials ask everyone to delay burning debris until conditions improve, and be careful with cigarette butts. Spring is Wisconsin’s most active wildland fire season. So far in 2014, there have been 61 wildland fires which have burned 227 acres.
The National Weather Service forecast predicts temperatures in the mid 60s with 20 to 25 percent relative humidity into Thursday. A cold front toting rain showers is expected to pass through the region on Friday. Look for Smokey Bear fire danger signs to read “High” to “Very High.” Residents are strongly advised to check with the local authorities for additional burning restrictions.
Check for fire conditions and burn permit restrictions daily at this DNR site.