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DNR: Despite rain, west-central Wisconsin at high fire danger Thursday

Eau Claire, La Crosse and Chippewa counties are among the areas at high risk for wildfires Thursday.
Eau Claire, La Crosse and Chippewa counties are among the areas at high risk for wildfires...
Eau Claire, La Crosse and Chippewa counties are among the areas at high risk for wildfires Thursday.(Station)
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:40 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says parts of Wisconsin have a high fire danger Thursday.

West-central Wisconsin, including the cities of Eau Claire and La Crosse, are at high fire danger, the DNR’s middle category of five for wildfire risk.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, the counties at high fire risk include Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, St. Croix and Trempealeau. The east-central portion of the state is at moderate fire danger, while the northern and southern third of Wisconsin have low fire danger Thursday.

The increased risk comes with hot temperatures and windy conditions across much of the state. Vegetation also has not fully formed in parts of the state after cooler weather prevailed for most of the spring. The DNR recommends against burning in high fire danger areas Thursday, and advised to take precautions with outdoor flames, such as campfires, to mitigate wildfire chances.

Despite last night's rain, fire danger is HIGH today. Predicted wind gusts are keeping the danger elevated.

Posted by Wheaton Fire & Rescue on Thursday, May 12, 2022

The fire danger exists even after severe storms came through western Wisconsin Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.

The DNR says it has counted 397 wildfires in 2022 to date, which have burned over 600 acres so far this year. That includes 149 fires in the past week burning over 145 acres, according to the DNR, with eight fires occurring Wednesday burning over four acres. DNR data shows that over one-third of this year’s wildfires (135) have been caused by debris burning.

Last year at this time, 612 wildfires had scorched over 1,771 acres across the state.

If you are unable to use the DNR’s burning restrictions, wildfires and prescribed fire activities map online, you can call 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) for information in your area.

FEMA recommends that each household knows and understands what to do in the event of a wildfire. Generally, here are some tips to be aware of in the event of a wildfire:

  • Recognize Warnings and Alerts: Have several ways to receive alerts.
  • Make an Emergency Plan: Make sure everyone in your household knows and understands what to do if you need to quickly evacuate.
  • Review Important Documents: Make sure your insurance policies and personal documents (like ID) are up to date.
  • Know your Evacuation Zone: Learn your evacuation routes, practice with household, pets, and identify where you will go.
  • Gather Supplies: Have enough supplies for your household, include medication, disinfectant supplies, masks, pet supplies in your go bag or car trunk.
  • Stay Safe During: Evacuate immediately if authorities tell you to do so!
  • Returning Home After a Wildfire: Do not return home until authorities say it is safe to do so.

More resources about wildfire safety are available here. You can learn about fire danger and burning restrictions in your area on the Wisconsin DNR website here.

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