Wildland Fire News

DNR helps fight fires outside of Wisconsin

The 60 Wisconsin DNR personnel and six engines that helped on out-of-state wildland fires this summer created a win-win scenario for all involved.

Community meeting in Montana

Public Information Officer Catherine Koele addresses a community group regarding a fire on the Lolo National Forest in Montana.

Not only was the assistance of tremendous value on the 14 fires in six states and two Canadian provinces, but these assignments provided valuable training and experience for DNR employees in working together for extended periods of time under less-than-ideal conditions and in dealing with forest fire safety situations in large fire environments. The assignments provide employees an opportunity to obtain and maintain their forest firefighting qualifications and credentials.  They also allow us to demonstrate and test our equipment and tactics in large fire situations not available in Wisconsin every year.

This sharing of resources is crucial given that no single agency can afford to have all of the personnel and equipment necessary to fight forest fires during peak activity times. Wisconsin routinely uses air resources and personnel from other agencies for assistance during our spring forest fire season.

The valuable training and experience gained by our staff greatly benefits the state of Wisconsin and its ability to respond to local forest fires and provides the requesting agency well-trained staff and equipment to help manage their wildland fire incidents. Truly a win-win scenario!

Wildfire activity increases; DNR ready for the battle

Wisconsin has already had more than 200 wildfires in 2017 since the snow-cover disappeared with the potential of more before vegetation greens up and the fire danger subsides.

More than 98 percent of all wildfires in Wisconsin are caused by people. The majority of these fires result from careless burning of debris on the ground in piles or burn barrels. Something as simple as getting a burning permit or being aware of the daily fire danger can prevent a wildfire.

Find out which counties have suspended burning permits and witness real-time fire activity by visiting dnr.wi.gov and enter keyword “fire.” To see the DNR fire control ‘gearing up for fire season,’ visit the DNR homepage and watch the short video of all the efforts it takes protect Wisconsin’s valuable resources.

Read more in this news release or contact Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele (catherine.koele@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x208 (office), 608-219-9075 (cell).

Grants to strengthen fire suppression in 196 communities

Fire departments in 196 Wisconsin communities will receive a total of $645,487 in grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forest Fire Protection Grant Program in 2016. The funding can be used for equipment, prevention, and training to enhance forest fire protection and suppression ability.  This grant program was established in 1997 to strengthen the capacity of local fire departments and county or area fire organizations to assist the DNR forestry staff in suppression of forest fires. Here’s a complete list of 2016 FFP grant recipients [PDF].  Read more in this news release or on the DNR website, keyword grants.

For more information, contact Chris Klahn (christopher.klahn@wisconsin.gov), DNR cooperative fire control specialist, 608- 297-2214.

Wildfire risk reduction applications due Oct 15

2015 curbside chipping project in Germantown, WI

High fire risk communities are eligible to receive grant funds for projects to reduce ‘fuels,’ such as this brush chipping project in Juneau County.

Between July 15 and October 15, WDNR staff and our partners in fire management are able to submit Wildfire Risk Reduction (WRR) project applications. A packet of application materials, which includes guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions and the application, were emailed to WDNR Area Forestry Leaders, Wildland Urban Interface Specialists and State Forest Supervisors July 1 for wider distribution through their local networks. Continue reading “Wildfire risk reduction applications due Oct 15”

Harvesting trees offers many benefits

Keeping an ecosystem healthy includes management for wildlife habitat, aesthetics, soil and water quality, native biological diversity, recreational opportunities and forest products. One important component of sustainable forestry is the periodic harvesting of trees. In addition to providing forest products, supporting the local economy, and enhancing wildlife habitat, a benefit of timber harvests can also provide protection from wildfire. The spread of wildfire can be minimized by the removal of lower limbs of conifers and small trees near larger conifers reducing chances of a fire climbing into the crowns or tops of existing trees. In addition, the creation of logging roads or “fuel breaks” can slow or stop a fire and allow fire suppression crews easy access for suppression crews easy access for suppression and mop-up.  Learn about many other benefits of harvesting trees here.