MADISON — Despite scattered rain showers this weekend, elevated fire conditions continue through Wednesday, especially in northern Wisconsin, where the fire danger is high to very high due to low relative humidity and slower progression of green-up.
Fires under these circumstances can start easily and spread quickly. Fire officials now anticipate a slightly longer than average fire season.
Certain areas of the state are particularly concerning at this time, including sandy soil, pine areas and the areas in Langlade and Oconto counties where the blowdown took place last July, leaving an abundance of fuel for a wildfire.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources responded to 16 fires over the weekend, all of which were contained due to rapid fire suppression efforts. The leading causes of these fires were equipment, debris burning and improper ash disposal.
One of the fires included a 4-acre fire in Burnett County resulting from woodstove embers being tossed into the woods. Air tankers aided in the effort to reinforce containment lines provided by ground resources.
To help us keep Wisconsinites safe, the DNR continues to request that the public avoids outdoor burning by limiting the use of campfires and off-road vehicles and avoid disposing hot ashes from woodstoves in the grass or wooded areas.
The highest chance of precipitation is expected to occur on Wednesday afternoon. Fuel conditions such as trees, shrubs and grasses are dry. Please continue to take extra precautions as a dry stretch of weather remains.
Burning remains suspended with DNR-issued burning permits for debris piles, barrels and grass or wooded areas. We are asking the public again to be especially careful with any activities that could potentially lead to a wildland fire such as smoking, using chainsaws, dragging trailer chains, riding off-road vehicles or other small engines that have the potential to throw sparks. Use extreme caution until the fire weather improves.
The DNR remains on high alert across the entire state, pre-positioning equipment for rapid response. The DNR has four contract tanker planes and access to the Wisconsin Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopters with bucket capability.
Report fires early by dialing 911 immediately. Continue to monitor the current situation here or by searching the DNR website using the keyword “fire.”
— Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
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