MADISON, Wis. - Although scattered rain across the state has temporarily reduced fire danger statewide, wildfire season is in high gear with vegetation green-up not yet complete across Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will continue to do all things necessary to protect the public from wildfires. As such, DNR-issued burning permits remain suspended for debris piles, barrels and grass or wooded areas.
Cooler temperatures and a lack of rain mean a slow down of green-up across the northern half of Wisconsin. Wildfire season remains active statewide as areas where vegetation appears to be green continue to have dry fuel.
Wisconsin has had nearly 130 wildfires in DNR protection areas in May alone. Debris burning is the No.1 cause of these wildfires. The suspension of burning permits eliminates ignition sources on the landscape. The largest wildfire this season was a 234-acre wildfire in Juneau County on April 18 where aircraft played a critical role in slowing the spread of the fire so ground resources could reinforce containment lines.
Fire control officials will continue to evaluate the statewide fire risk, resource availability and state directives to determine when to lift the burning permit suspension. The DNR must continue to comply with Gov. Evers' Executive Order #75 relating to elevated wildfire conditions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent wildfires. Spring is critical wildfire season in Wisconsin and generally lasts through May.
Emergency responders and firefighters have an increased need to take pandemic precautions so they remain available to continue to protect the public from wildfires. Remember to report wildfires by dialing 911 immediately.