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Snow Leaving, COVID Causes Burning Permits To Be Halted

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Spring in Wisconsin means a much higher risk of wildfires. People cause 98 percent of all wildfires in the state.

The DNR has stopped issuing burning permits until further notice due to the COVID-19 Safer at Home order.

DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele says the time just after the snow leaves and prior to green up is one of the most dangerous times for wildfires....

"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking a lot of pro-active measures to reduce fire occurances and wildfire risk across the state. In all DNR protection areas, DNR burning permits have been suspended until further notice..."

Snow covers much of the area north of Highway 64 at this time, but with warmer temperatures in the forecast, the snow cover could be leaving soon. Koele says fighting a fire requires people to be in contact...

"We need to reduce our exposure and that's to keep the public and our firefighters safe from getting sick and then the potential of not being able to staff some of our fire equipment and having to move things around and pre-position some of our equipment based on risk. Right now, the department is fully staffed and we're able to respond, but we don't know what the future holds..."

DNR burning permits do not apply within incorporated cities and villages.

Koele says all burning of debris in barrels, burning of debris piles on the ground, grass or wooded areas is prohibited at this time. She says they really can't afford to have any ignitions on the landscape.

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