No rain, low humidity and sunny days. They all combine to make this spring fire season especially dangerous.And again Monday, the DNR is warning of a potentially historic wildfire threat.
The fire danger for Western Wisconsin is "very high". That is an improvement from Sunday's "extreme" but a local forester ranger says he thought conditions today were even more explosive than yesterday.
"Red flag warning are pretty rare. The conditions to get those don't happen very often, but yesterday was the first time in my two years in Augusta that we've had those conditions." There wasn't a red flag warning today but Augusta forester ranger Jed Kaurick says conditions today were even worse.
"our winds are even higher, our humidities are at least as dry as they were yesterday, and there's just going to be more people out." He says anything can start a fire but says people who burn garbage is the number one cause of many wildfires.
"Burning permits are cancelled at this time but anyone that does have a camp fire, warming fire, cooking fire they need to be extremely careful and make sure those fires are extinguished and if you don't have to have them don't have them."
Even though winds are forecasted to come down by Wednesday, Kaurich says the fire danger will still be high due to dry vegetation that will be susceptible to fire.
"based on the season, conifers and running crown fires are our biggest threat we have right now."
Kaurick says without some measurable rain then the fire danger will continue to compound itself day after day
The DNR takes into account several factors to determine how fast a wild fire will travel. For today that's 2-3 mph or even more...that's very fast all because of the very dry conditions, the low humidity, and these very blustery winds today.
Karick says if a wildfire happened on Monday in the right place, those kind of fire spread rates would mean a historic wildfire for the Chippewa Valley.
I talked to the fire suppression specialist with the DNR. He told me a red flag warning has specific criteria that was not met based on the forecast. But he added people to be especially vigilant as long as the fire danger is extremely high. Also, if you see anything be sure to call 911.
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