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Wildfires up this year in Wisconsin, but down over the last few decades


Wisconsin has been seeing fewer problems with wildfires over time.

Catherine Koele, Wildfire Prevention Specialist with the DNR, recently updated the Natural Resources Board on this year’s fire season.

Koele says we’ve seen a steady decline in fire occurrence in the state in recent years.

“The 30-year average, we are down, and that is good news for us. A lot of this is I think, technology, rapid response times keeping those fires small. We’re having wetter springs, and that’s just the reality of it. We’re still in these cycles of having droughty periods like this year is a good example. Prior to this, I think we had a drought stretch in 2012 was the last time we were kind of in this position,” said Koele.

Koele ran down the statistics so far this year.

They were worse than is typically seen, thanks to dry conditions.

“We’re about 200 fires more than the average year, and that’s just because of that extended drought. We’ve seen about 4400 acres to date. About 1800 is the average, and that is because of the two large scale fires that we did have this year”

Koele says an average year will see 800 wildfires that burn a total of 2400 acres.

Spring is the peak time for fires.

Humans cause most of the fires seen in Wisconsin, with debris burning being the number one cause.

John Burton is the WXPR Morning Edition Host.
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