The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources suspended burning permits in 22 counties on Monday, as strong winds and dry conditions ushered in what is expected to be the state’s first widespread risk of high to very high fire danger.
“We have all the necessary ingredients for fire weather,” DNR Forest Protection Director Trent Marty. “We have soil, leaf litter and brush that is drying rapidly from winter’s low snowfall and shallow frost.”
Marty said those dry conditions are combining with strong gusty winds, low humidity and anticipated warmer temperatures to push up the fire danger
The DNR is suspending burning permits in the northwestern and southern half of the state. Smokey Bear fire danger signs in front of DNR offices in those counties will read “High” or “Very High.” Residents are advised to check locally for additional burning restrictions. Check for fire conditions and burn permit restrictions daily.
Marty said the timing of the increased fire risk coincides with people beginning their annual yard and property cleanup, which include the common practice of burning a debris pile of leaves, brush and pine needles. The DNR recommends holding off on any outdoor burning until conditions improve.
Debris burning is Wisconsin’s top cause of wildfires. Winds can rekindle smoldering embers. Anyone who has conducted a debris pile in recent days is asked to please return to that area and make sure that fire is out.