Spring is wildfire season in Wisconsin, DNR gives tips to keep your home safe

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 8:17 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Spring is the busiest time for wildfires in Wisconsin. A forestry specialist from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said that’s because fires can spread quickly after the snow melts and before vegetation turns green.

Even though north central Wisconsin has seen snow and wet conditions recently, there is still a risk. Rapidly changing conditions and sandy soil contribute to a higher risk for wildfires.

Nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by people, with the leading cause being burning debris. That’s why the DNR wants people to pay attention to the weather and check the fire danger for the day. Those conditions can be found either online, or on a sign near a fire department.

“Most people do want to burn debris in the spring when they’re cleaning up their yards. So it’s very important that people get their free DNR annual burning permits and that they check conditions before they burn,” forestry specialist for the Wisconsin DNR Amy Penn said.

It’s also important to note that storm damage is extra fuel to the fire on the ground. And, with the damage recent storms left behind, Penn said she encourages everyone to start thinking about debris removal to protect their homes.

“I just really want to encourage people who live in high-risk areas to think about how they’re preparing their home. So, any place where an ember could land and start a fire, that’s the kind of thing you want to take notice of around your property. So dry leaves up against the base of the home, pine needles in the gutter, these are all places where you can do a little bit of spring maintenance, and you can reduce the risk of ignition to your home should a wildfire occur,” she explained.

April 17-23 is also Wildfire Prevention Week.

“Another key message is don’t let the snow fool you... It’s still spring. It’s still sandy soil. Yes, the risk is lower today, but that could be a totally different story tomorrow so the conditions change quickly. We don’t want people to see the snow and you know, go hog wild. And even if they did burn today, they need to make sure it’s fully out.”

So far, Wisconsin has had 147 wildfires in 2022.

To learn more ways to protect your home, click here.

To get a free burning permit or to see other options to remove debris, click here.

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