Lower than normal moisture levels are already increasing the risk of wildfires in Northern Wisconsin. The Department of Natural Resources says a light winter for snow is increasing the risk of wildfires. Bob Manwell with the DNR's Forestry Division says there's a possibility the fire season could start much earlier than usual, and any wildfires could much hotter than usual because of very dry conditions.

Manwell says the problem is caused by a large moisture deficit in the northern parts of the state. The winter season started with drought like conditions already present in many parts of the state. The combined effect of low snow levels means the ground has very low moisture level.

The effects of an early fire season are already being felt. Manwell says officials have responded to several small wildfires in just the past week.

Property owners and visitors are being urged to take extra precautions with any outdoor fires they start.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (MP3 1:04)

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