By Catherine Koele, DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist
For southern Wisconsin, fire season is well underway. For others in the north? Well, unfortunately, it may be June before some of the snow piles completely melt. But, it’s never too early to be thinking about spring fire season. To gear up, the DNR launched an update to WisBURN—the place to get current fire season information throughout Wisconsin.
Many people have come to recognize the Wisconsin DNR’s fire danger and burn restrictions webpage over the years. It draws in nearly 700,000 page views every year from outdoor enthusiasts, rural property owners, hunters, farmers, local governments, and even the media.
Earlier this year, the Division of Forestry officially launched the latest rendition of WisBURN. Users take note—the web address has changed, seamless redirects are in place, and it’s now considered a web-based, interactive mapping application. The updated web address is now: apps.dnr.wi.gov/wisburn
WisBURN is a critical public communication tool used by the Division of Forestry to provide accurate and timely information on current fire danger, DNR burn restrictions and fire activity across Wisconsin. Their main customer base is DNR burn permit holders (those who plan to burn debris or conduct small-scale land management burns), providing information if burning is allowed or suspended for the day.
While the application might look a bit different, the intent of the DNR annual burning permit and the daily burn restrictions has not changed. Customers might notice some snazzy enhancements like a searchable location box, easy clicking from one tab to the next at the same map extent, and more details when zooming in at a specific location. And, since 74% of all WisBURN users are visiting from a smartphone device, the new mapping application is tailored specifically for that mobile experience.
There are only a few operational changes to be aware of. There is now a separation between the fire danger information and the DNR burn restrictions—this was intentional due to a certain subset of customers who only use the DNR burn restrictions tab. Whereas the fire danger applies to the entire state and, therefore, all customers at first glance. In addition, the DNR burn restrictions are now updated at 9 am (formerly 11 am) to give customers the opportunity to better plan and prepare for their outdoor activities for the day.
Spring is upon us, which is a good opportunity to remind anyone wanting to conduct a burn outdoors that this is the peak of Wisconsin’s wildfire season. It’s important to remember that right after the snow melts and before vegetation greening is the most critical time to take note of the rapidly changing fire conditions. Let WisBURN help! Visit: apps.dnr.wi.gov/wisburn to monitor the fire danger and daily burn restrictions in your backyard.