Abnormally dry weather conditions, high winds, and low humidity are causing an increased likelihood of wildfires throughout the state. As a result, Governor Walker has issued an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency.
Tod Pritchard is with Wisconsin Emergency Management. He says the declaration proactively gets the paperwork done … just in case. “It’s really planning for the worst and hoping for the best. It’s a classic example of that.”
The risk of significant large fires is expected to extend at least through the end of May. While some individuals might see wet yards after a rainfall, Pritchard says that’s not enough to drown the drought. “A shower here or a shower there certainly helps a little bit, but it’s not going to make up for the deficit.”
Pritchard says it’s important to use common sense, for example, fulling extinguishing campfires, avoiding throwing cigarettes out car windows, and taking caution when burning debris.
In addition to calling the Wisconsin National Guard to assist in wildfire prevention and suppression, Governor Walker has asked all state agencies to be ready to help in potential wildfire response and recovery efforts.
To ensure prompt response to any threat, the DNR is currently monitoring weather conditions and fire behavior, and fire departments and fire suppression resources are on high-alert.