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'Very high' fire danger in Wisconsin this weekend, DNR warns

Posted at 3:36 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 17:31:28-04

All of Wisconsin is under a "very high fire danger" heading into the Easter Sunday weekend, the state Department of Natural Resources warned in an urgent statement Friday.

Already in southeastern Wisconsin, crews are battling brush fires in rural Waukesha County.

All burning remains suspended. That includes DNR-issued burning permits for debris piles, barrels and grass or wooded areas across the DNR Protection Area.

The combination of low humidity and high winds in the forecast has DNR officials expecting a high risk of fires. "Any fire could quickly start and spread in these conditions," according to officials Friday.

The DNR is also urging residents to avoid all outdoor burning, including limiting the use of campfires and making sure to extinguish and dispose of cigarettes properly.

Outdoor enthusiasts should also use caution when using vehicles or equipment that could create a spark and start a fire.

"Keep in mind that weather conditions can change frequently and quickly become dangerous," the DNR warned.

Already more than 200 wildfires have been reported in Wisconsin this year, burning more than 450 acres. Fire officials expect a slightly longer fire season than average in 2021 due to how early the snow melted in Wisconsin.

The only respite to the high risk of fire is a chance of rain on Monday.

"In the meantime, please continue to take extra precautions during this dry spell. Use extreme caution until the fire weather improves," according to the DNR.

If you see a fire, report it by calling 911. Stay up to date with fire conditions here.

The DNR Protection Area includes the following. (Counties with an asterisk are those where only a portion are in the DNR Protection Area):

Adams County, Ashland County, Barron County*, Bayfield County, Burnett County, Chippewa County *, Clark County *, Columbia County, Crawford County, Dane County *, Douglas County, Eau Claire County *, Florence County, Forest County, Grant County *, Green Lake County, Iowa County *, Iron County, Jackson County *, Juneau County, Langlade County, Lincoln County, Marathon County *, Marinette County, Marquette County, Menominee County, Monroe County *, Oconto County *, Oneida County, Polk County *, Portage County, Price County, Richland County, Rusk County, Sauk County, Sawyer County, Shawano County *, Taylor County, Vilas County, Washburn County, Waupaca County *, Waushara County and Wood County*.

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