Emergency burning restrictions lifted in Northwest WisconsinEmergency burning restrictions for northwest Wisconsin counties impacted by last summer’s severe windstorm will end at 12:01 a.m. Thursday in DNR fire protection areas.
Emergency burning restrictions for northwest Wisconsin counties impacted by last summer’s severe windstorm will end at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, May 24 in DNR fire protection areas. Portions of Burnett, Douglas, Polk and Washburn counties have been impacted by these emergency burning restrictions since April 6. Emergency burning restrictions applied to the designated areas outside incorporated cities and villages in these counties.
Under the restrictions, burning of any combustible material outdoors was strictly prohibited under this order. This included burn piles, burn barrels, campfires, fireworks, smoking in the outdoors, and disposing of ashes or charcoal briquettes in the outdoors.
“Now that the area has received significant precipitation, the oak trees have leafed-out completely and the conifers have pollinated, this is a good indication that green-up has occurred and the peak of our fire season is coming to an end,” said Trent Marty, director of forest protection. “We still have a lot of dead timber on the ground and fire weather conditions can change quickly, so we will continue to utilize the burning permit system for permitting burning debris piles and burn barrels within the storm boundaries.”
The burning restrictions were primarily in place due to the remaining debris from the July 1, 2011, windstorm, and above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation in the months since. Fire control officials are lifting the restrictions now that green-up has occurred and the potential for catastrophic fires has decreased.
“We would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding throughout this process. We’ve had extraordinary compliance and we are very grateful,” Marty said. “While campfires and smoking is allowed again, we still ask that people exercise extreme caution when conducting any activities that may result in sparks or flames in the outdoors around the storm damage area.”
Since the restrictions have been in effect, fire control officials have reported a total of 11 fires burning 2.2 acres. Fortunately, the fires that did occur within the storm damage area did not ignite in challenging fuels or under serious fire weather, causing them to spread. The causes of the fires vary but mostly related to a powerlines, ash disposal, vehicle exhaust and campfires. Under normal fire season conditions, this area averages 30 fires burning 75 acres for the same time period resulting in an 63 percent decrease in overall fire occurrence.
Those impacted by the wind storm can continue to obtain information on alternatives to burning and salvaging efforts by visiting http://dnr.wi.gov enter keyword “storm.” For the most current fire danger and burning permit information, enter keyword “fire.”