MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking the public to stay vigilant as elevated fire danger is expected Friday and into the weekend particularly in the northern part of the state.

The increased fire danger is due to warmer temperatures, lower humidity and dry vegetation which increases the potential risk for wildfires. Meanwhile, high pressure weather systems lower the chances for precipitation.

Wisconsin is entering peak fire season as fires in sandy soils and pine areas will begin to move up into the crowns of the trees. DNR staff will be on alert this weekend and positioning equipment in higher fire risk areas.

Be fire smart – With the state’s fishing season opener this Saturday, May 7, coupled with Mother’s Day, there tends to be more fires as more people are gathering with family, enjoying the outdoors, having shore lunches, cleaning up around seasonal homes and choosing to burn their debris.

The DNR has responded to 235 wildfires burning more than 426 acres so far this year. Nearly 100 wildfires this year alone have been caused by debris burning which is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in the state.

Debris Burning & Burning Permits

The DNR may suspend burning permits for debris piles, barrels and broadcast in counties where there is increased wildfire potential.

DNR burning permits are required for the purposes of burning vegetative debris anytime the ground is not completely snow-covered. Small fires for warming or cooking do not require a DNR burning permit but please use extreme caution.

The DNR asks the public not to burn their debris piles since embers from any fire can easily escape control and cause a wildfire. Burn permits for debris burning could be suspended in several counties over the coming days until conditions improve.

DNR burning permits are free and can be obtained online and instantly emailed or issued over the phone and delivered by the U.S. Postal Service within three to five business days. Get your annual DNR burning permit by completing the online application here or by calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876).  

Fire Safety Tips

  • Check before you burn; burn permits for debris burning will likely be suspended in several counties over the coming days until conditions improve.
  • Operate equipment (chainsaws, off-road vehicles, lawn mowers, etc.) early in the morning or late in the day to avoid sparks at peak burn hours.
  • Secure dragging trailer chains.
  • Delay having campfires until the evening hours as fire conditions tend to improve; keep them small and contained.
  • Report fires early, dial 911.

Check daily fire danger, wildfire reports and burning restrictions on the DNR website.


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