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Most wildfires linked to spring clean-up and dry weather factors

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is urging those looking to burn brush in their backyards to be cautious.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is urging those looking to burn brush in their...
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is urging those looking to burn brush in their backyards to be cautious.(wsaw)
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 12:26 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Department of Natural Resources is warning people spring is the most critical fire season in Wisconsin. Factors such as temperature, wind, humidity and precipitation determine the daily fire danger. As snow melts, it uncovers pine needles and dead grass and leaves. Once dry, those items can turn into kindling if the conditions are right.

Nick Hovda is a forest ranger with the Wisconsin DNR. He said most wildfires in Wisconsin occur due to spring yard waste clean-up.

“It’s fairly common. We don’t get the bigger fires like the ones we see out West, but we do get a lot of ignitions. Nine out of ten wildfires are human-caused,” Hovda said.

This year the DNR is asking people to be mindful of the size of fire they are burning, and suggest doing burning yard waste on an area still covered by snow.

“The snow just started to melt and that fuel bed is ready to ignite,” Hovda explained.

Hovda said a burning permit is required for anyone to burn any type of vegetation in the city of Wausau. To avoid the risk of fire altogether, Hovda suggests composting, wood chipping, or utilizing a yard waste site. The city of Wausau’s yard waste site is set to open in April.

On April 27, 1977 a fire damaged more than 6,000-acres in Wood County. Fifteen tractor plows, 18 bulldozers, 12 fire departments and about 100 men and women worked on the Saratoga fire, Five homes, one house trailer, 10 barns and 84 outbuildings were destroyed. Total damages were over a million dollars. It is considered one of the largest fires to date in central Wisconsin.

To get a burning permit CLICK HERE or call 1-888-WIS-BURN.

If you do cause a fire, Hovda said to call 911 right away and leave the extinguishing to the professionals.

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