Wildfire season arrives swiftly in northeast

Discussion in 'Outdoor News' started by Wisconsin DNR News, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. By Northeast Region March 10, 2015

    Contact(s): Chris Duncan, DNR forester-ranger, Oconto Falls, 920-846-0331; Ed Culhane, DNR communications, 715-781-1683

    OCONTO FALLS, WI - With warm temperatures and rapid snowmelt, wildfire season has arrived suddenly in parts of northeast Wisconsin. In Oconto County, the Department of Natural Resources reports, outdoor burning regulations are now in effect.

    "Debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires," said Chris Duncan, a DNR ranger and forester stationed at Oconto Falls. "We are asking property owners to take a moment and refresh their understanding of Wisconsin burning regulations."

    Under state law, anyone located outside the limits of incorporated villages or cities in Oconto County who plans an open burn must possess a current, written permit before lighting a fire and must follow the restrictions listed in the permit.

    Burning permits are free of charge and may be obtained by calling 1-888-947-2876 or by requesting one online at http://dnr.wi.gov/burnpermits. They are also available at local DNR offices or from an emergency fire warden.

    Only clean untreated wood, clean non-recyclable paper products and vegetation may be burned. All other waste items must be recycled, composted or disposed of in a landfill.

    Just one burning permit is required for the calendar year. Once obtained, the permit holder is responsible to check current burning restrictions before burning by calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) after 11 a.m. for that day or by checking the DNR website -dnr.wi.gov - keyword "fire".

    Permit restrictions may be curtailed or cancelled during periods of increased fire danger, so permit holders are required to check burning regulations every time before they burn.

    State law requires anyone conducting an open burn to attend the fire at all times while it is burning and to completely extinguish the fire before leaving it. This can take some effort, as simply soaking the burn pile can leave hot embers in the ash.

    An individual conducting an open burn is legally responsible if the fire escapes and damages another person's property. This individual may also be responsible for fire suppression costs.

    "We all need to pay attention to prevent wildfires," Duncan said. "Make sure you have a fire break around any fire you start. Keep fire suppression equipment, like a hose and a shovel, handy. And please make sure any fire you start is completely extinguished - dead out and cold - before you leave it."

    For more information, contact your local DNR service center or ranger station or visit www.dnr.wi.gov keyword "fire" for more information on burning regulations and current fire danger levels in Wisconsin.

    Last Revised: Tuesday, March 10, 2015