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Busy Weekend for Wisconsin Wildland Firefighters as State Sees Nearly 100 Fires Over Two Days

Wisconsin DNR

Firefighters are still on alert after a busy weekend fighting brush fires.

Throughout the state, fire crews responded to nearly 100 wildland fires this weekend.

Spring is usually the most dangerous time in Wisconsin for wildland fires  and this spring has been busier than most.

Wisconsin DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele said fire activity this year has been three times greater than in past years.

There’s been 150 wildfires in Wisconsin so far this year. Typically, that number is around 50 for this time of year and they’ve been happening all across the state.

“We’ve had some warmer temperatures, really gusty winds, low humidity. So certainly, starting off fire season with a bang and going statewide,” said Koele. “Typically, we’ll start in the south and kind of move north as the snow cover disappears, but we’re starting to see that snow cover disappearing statewide at the same time.”

Oneida, Forest, Iron, Price, Langlade, and Lincoln Counties all saw at least one brush fire this weekend.

The largest was a four-acre fire north of Merrill on Saturday.

Rain in the forecast this week will help lower the fire danger risk some, but Koele warns not to grow complacent.

“That fire danger very drastically, very quickly. So even though you get a little rain today, tomorrow things could dry out again and we could be hovering at high or very high fire danger this time of year, so it’s important to check those daily restrictions,” said Koele.

You can check fire danger and burn restrictions here.

Koele said the DNR will move resources around the state based on fire danger so it can quickly respond to where they’re mostly to occur, but the best thing is for people to take precautions to prevent fires from happening.

People are responsible 98% of wildfires in Wisconsin.  Most of those are because of people burning yard debris.

“Folks clean up around their yard, piling things up and then choosing to burn that. Obviously, the key here is to consider alternatives to burning: composting, hauling to a transfer site, leaving it in the woods to decompose,” said Koele.

If you do choose to burn, the DNR asks that you get a burning permit, which are free.

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