The southern part of the state is still trying to dry out from recent heavy rain. The northern part of the state is still bone dry.

Mike Luedeke, who manages the DNR's fire and forestry efforts in 18 northern counties, says there are extreme drought conditions in the north.

Some of those areas are years behind in rainfall. For example, Luedeke says the Hayward area is thirty inches below normal rainfall since 2003.

Forest vegetation is drying up. Trees are dropping leaves earlier than usual. Lake and river water levels are falling. And there's a high risk of fire.

Summer is normally a time fires staff can stand down after a normal spring threat but this summer wardens are back in the fire towers, planes are on the lookout for and flames and firefighters are on duty seven days a week.

Luedeke says they've already had to deal with several of what he calls nuisance fires. Some of them started by fireworks.

Leudeke says emergency burning restrictions may be put into effect soon. There's nothing anyone can do about the situation except hope for rain. Lots of it.

AUDIO: Jim Dick reports ( 1:04 MP3 )

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