Wisconsin experiencing very high fire danger keeping firefighters busy

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 6:42 PM CDT
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OSSEO, Wis. (WEAU) - It was a busy weekend for area firefighters. Between dry conditions and wind, several wildfires were reported and firefighters urge people to hold off on burning right now.

If you’ve driven by your local fire department over the past few days, you may have noticed the fire danger sign display noting “very high” conditions.

The Osseo Rural Fire Department had a very busy weekend keeping up with a mix of grass and structure fire calls.

“Over the weekend, we got eight calls anywhere from structure fires to grass fires, mainly grass fires,” Assistant Chief Mike Hallum said.

In a 36-hour time span, Osseo rural fire responded to eight different calls.

“One fairly large one ended up being about six and a half acres. It involved a structure at that time,” Hallum said.

With most of the Badger State under high to very high fire danger, Hallum says especially on windy days like Monday, burning anything outside can escalate.

“Right now we’re in a very high, and I stress very high, fire danger season and we need to be a little bit more diligent on starting campfires, starting burn barrels right now,” Hallum said. “One little ember can start a cornfield on fire, It can set the woods on fire.”

If you are thinking about getting rid of yard waste like leaves and branches, there are burning alternatives.

Hallum says consider taking a trip to your local brush site.

“Most of the municipalities around have brush sites that you can take it to,” Hallum said. “You can look on social media or call your city hall to find out where the brush site is, haul everything there instead of trying to burn it up in your yard and turn it into a structure, fire a big wildland fire.”

Director of Public Works for the City of Osseo, Benjamin Ganther says the Osseo’s brush site accepts residential yard waste.

“We take any kind of brush from your yard, we take leaves, we take lawn clippings,” Ganther said. “We do not take roots just because we have difficulty burning them.”

If you’re unsure what the fire danger is on a given day, Hallum says simply checking in with your local fire department is a good first step.

“All of your fire departments around have Facebook pages that we’re putting out, you know, on the fire danger on and we have it marked in our front yard here,” Hallum said.

Hallum says his fire department is not handing out burning permits right now due to the high fire danger. He says that could change if and when weather conditions become more ideal for burning.

The Wisconsin DNR has also suspended permits for some counties.

You should check with your area fire department to see if burning is allowed at this time.

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