Do you have a meeting or event with your neighborhood association this summer? If your area is at risk to wildfire then this is a great opportunity to raise awareness of fire risk, educate people about local burning restrictions and review actions people can take to prepare their properties ahead of the flames. Learn more at dnr.wi.gov, search “fire”.
Green up of vegetation and regular rains have kept fire danger Low to Moderate in southern Wisconsin. Fire danger ranged from Moderate to Very High in northern Wisconsin. The progression of green up statewide and predicted rain over the weekend is expected to quell the fire danger even further. Over the past week, 72 wildfires burned 147 acres in DNR Protection Areas. Recent wildfire causes have been equipment, debris burning, fireworks, power line, railroad and campfires.
Firewise Tip: Make sure campfires are made in a fire-safe pit or container. Clear an area 10 feet around the fire pit and never burn when it’s windy. Before leaving, drown your campfire thoroughly with water, stir the ashes and add more water until it’s out cold.
This concludes the wildfire report until conditions cause the fire danger to rise. As a recap, 639 wildfires burned 1,802 acres this spring; 53 structures were destroyed and another 441 were threatened, but saved with firefighter assistance. Be mindful of the weather and any drying conditions as we head into summer. Stay informed of statewide fire danger by checking our Fire web page as a part your outdoor work and recreation routine.
With fire season still lingering in the north, the DNR has reported 53 structures destroyed by wildfires so far this year. The good news is, 439 were also threatened yet saved with firefighter assistance.
To find out if your home or cabin is a high wildfire risk area, ask yourself these questions: Is your place surrounded by oak or pine trees? Are your rain gutters full of pine needles? Is your lawn covered with leaves? Is there a Smokey Bear fire danger sign in your community?
If you answered “yes,” you might have some work to do! As we head into the long weekend, grab a rake and gloves, and take a peek at ways you can prepare your property for wildfire. Avoid burning by hauling the debris to a brush & leaf drop-off site or compost the material. https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/preparing.html
Statewide fire danger ranged from Low to Extreme this week, depending on progression of green-up and rainfall received; 68 fires burned 141 acres in DNR Protection Areas. The largest fire of the week was the “White River Fire” in Bayfield County which burned 42 acres and was caused by a campfire. The main fire causes this week were debris burning (e.g., brush, leaves, trash, burn barrel, broadcast burning) and equipment (e.g., vehicle exhaust, sparks from tow chains dragging, farm disking machine).
People are urged to continue to use caution with all types of outdoor burning, campfires, ash disposal and equipment use. Property owners are reminded to remain present when burning debris in a barrel or on the ground – should your fire escape, you can be held responsible for the cost of fire suppression and any damages resulting from the escaped fire. Clear an area around the pile or barrel and make sure a hose is attached to a working spigot. Wet down the burned area before leaving. Stay aware of the current fire danger for your area by checking our website: dnr.wi.gov, keyword “fire”.
Firewise Tip: Practice safe towing. Chains dragging on the road can ignite dry grass along the road. Use appropriate safety pins and hitch ball to secure chains. If you need to stop and check what you’re towing, do not pull your vehicle over dry grass – hot exhaust and mufflers can start fires.
Statewide fire danger ranged from Low to Very High this past week. 88 fires burned 156 acres in DNR Protection Areas; 12 buildings were destroyed and another 30 were threatened, but saved with firefighter assistance. The main wildfire causes this week were debris burning and equipment. The largest fire of the week burned 27 acres in Langlade County, caused by a campfire.
People are urged to continue to use caution with all types of outdoor burning, ash disposal and equipment use. Property owners are reminded to remain present when burning debris in a barrel or on the ground – should your fire escape, you can be held responsible for the cost of fire suppression and any damages resulting from the escaped fire. Clear an area around the pile or barrel and make sure a hose is attached to a working spigot. Wet down the burned area before leaving. Stay aware of the current fire danger for your area by checking our website: dnr.wi.gov, keyword “fire”.
May 14 marks the 5th anniversary of the Germann Road Fire that burned 7,442 acres and 100 buildings (including 22 homes and cabins) in Douglas County.
Firewise Tip: Are there any branches or dead trees close to power lines near your property? Ask the power company to clear them.
While spring is always much-welcomed after Wisconsin’s long winters, seasonal warm and dry conditions can result in increased wildfire activity. Northwest Wisconsin is taking a moment to highlight and remember the efforts that went into battling the historic Germann Road Fire as well as the recovery efforts still going on today by hosting an open forum on May 12, 2018. There will be a brief presentation about the fire, as well as what the burnt area looks like today as the community and landscape continues to recover.
On May 14, 2013, logging equipment sparked the Germann Road Fire in Douglas County that resulted in 7,499 acres burned and numerous structures lost before crossing into Bayfield County. Light rain moved through the area that morning dampening only the fine surface vegetation for a fleeting period. When the sun broke through the clouds, the landscape rapidly dried out becoming a prime receptor for a spark. At 2:45 pm, Brule DNR dispatch started a response that would last the next two days. The fire threatened approximately 450 structures and destroyed 104, including 23 primary residences before being declared contained on May 15.
One-hundred sixty-seven Wisconsin DNR personnel with 32 tractor plows, 5 heavy bulldozers and 100 fire engines worked feverishly to contain the fire, while 44 fire departments protected structures threatened by fire. This was the largest use of aircraft for fire suppression purposes on a fire in Wisconsin’s history. Thirteen aircraft including both fixed-wing and helicopters supported the efforts of ground crews.
In the years following, many of the homes and buildings have been rebuilt, yet some remain as a constant reminder of the fire-prone environment in northwest Wisconsin. Vast expanses of burnt forest have been opened giving way to new life on the landscape. In areas where tall pines once stood young seedlings are taking hold and reclaiming the ashes.
Please join the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff and other first responders at the Barnes Town Hall on Saturday, May 12, 2018 from 10:00 am until noon to learn more about the Germann Road Fire and the recovery that continues today. Barnes Town Hall is located at 3360 County Highway N, Barnes, WI 54873.
Contact Ben Garrett, Wildland Urban Interface Specialist, for more information about this event. (715) 635-4088. For more information on Wildfire in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov search “fire.”
Before you fry up that big catch over a campfire this weekend, follow Smokey’s Lead and check the fire danger. The fishing opener is upon us and another round of dry weather is in the forecast. Fire officials are gearing up for a busy weekend, especially in northern WI. Before you hit the lakes, secure trailer chains, check tire pressure and maintain brakes to avoid sparks. If you are planning to do some clean up around the yard or simply have a campfire with friends, follow the daily restrictions and make sure any permitted fires are completely out. In the last week, the DNR responded to over 160 wildfires, mostly caused by debris burning.
In the past week, 161 wildfires burned 520 acres in DNR protection areas (approximately half the state); 88 homes and other buildings were threatened but saved with firefighter assistance and 15 buildings were destroyed. Debris burning was the most common cause (67 fires); other causes included equipment, power line, railroad, campfires, ash disposal, and smoking. The largest fire of the week burned 124 acres and threatened 13 buildings in Eau Claire County, the cause was debris burning. Fire danger ranged from Low to Extreme across the state, with Red Flag Warnings in several counties. As the vegetation dries out on the days we don’t receive rain, expect fire danger to increase, particularly in areas where standing dead grass and other dry vegetation remains. Continue reading “Spring wildfire season continues in Wisconsin”
On the heels of the busiest fire day of the year, the Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the National Weather Service has for the second day in a row issued a Red Flag Warning for today, Monday, April 30 until 7 p.m. for the following seven counties: Jackson, Trempealeau, Juneau, Monroe, Clark, La Crosse and Adams.
As a result, the Wisconsin DNR is moving to extreme fire danger in those counties and will be prohibiting burning with DNR-issued burning permits and is asking the public to be especially careful with any activities that could potentially lead to a wildland fire. Campfires, ashes from fireplaces, outdoor grills, smoking, chainsaws, off-road vehicles or other small engines have the potential to throw a spark, ignite a fire and spread quickly. Please use extreme caution until the fire weather improves.
Last week 60 wildfires burned 129 acres in DNR Protection Areas;. Half of the fires were caused by debris burning; other minor causes included campfires, equipment, railroad, power line and improper ash disposal. Twelve buildings were threatened by wildfires, but saved by fire suppression actions. Three structures were destroyed. Snow is quickly melting in parts of the state that still have partial snow cover. This time of year there is still a great deal of dead vegetation that dries out quickly and is available fuel for a wildfire. Low relative humidity, warm temps, and gusty winds quickly drive up the fire danger. Stay aware of fire danger and burning restrictions by calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) or check online at dnr.wi.gov, keyword “fire”. Curious about where wildfires are actively burning? Check out our fire activity webpage at dnr.wi.gov, keyword “fire” and click on “View current wildfire activity.”
Firewise Tip: Turkey hunters are reminded to be extra cautious with anything that can start a wildfire when you’re outdoors. Be especially mindful of the weather. A warming or cooking fire on a windy day can quickly become an out of control wildfire.