The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has suspended all burning permits until further notice.

Burning of debris in barrels as well as the burning of debris piles on the ground, grass or wooded areas is prohibited at this time, a news release said.

The move, announced March 26, is a proactive measure in response to Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order. Eliminating ignition sources on the landscape reduces wildfire risk, smoke for vulnerable populations and person-to-person contact. Emergency responders and firefighters have an increased need to take pandemic precautions so they remain available to continue to protect the public from wildfires and reduce the spread of COVID-19, the news release said.

Spring is the time when fire risk is the highest in Wisconsin, and the number one cause of wildfires is debris burning, the DNR said.

Most debris fires occur in spring after the snow-cover melts and before vegetation greens. It is also the time many people are outside doing yard clean-up and choose to burn leaves, brush and pine needles.

Burning permits are required year-round in Douglas County except when the ground is snow-covered. Campfires used for warmth or cooking do not require a permit, but are discouraged at this time.

More information on burning restrictions and burning permits can be found on the DNR website.