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DNR: Very high fire danger persists into Monday across most of Wisconsin

Breezy, dry conditions, with humidity around 20 to 30%, could fuel wildfires, according to the National Weather Service.
Due to the combination of low humidity and dry vegetation, the Wisconsin DNR has determined...
Breezy, dry conditions, with humidity around 20 to 30%, could fuel wildfires, according to the National Weather Service.(Jimmie Kaska/WEAU)
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 9:23 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says most of Wisconsin has a very high fire danger Monday.

The northern two-thirds of Wisconsin is at very high fire danger, the DNR’s second-highest category of five for wildfire risk.

As of 9 a.m. Monday, counties north of a line from La Crosse to Sheboygan were at very high fire danger, with the bottom one-third of the state at high fire danger. This comes after warnings over the weekend of near-critical fire danger across most of northwestern Wisconsin.

The increased risk comes with dry 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 the state Monday, and advised to take precautions with outdoor flames, such as campfires, to mitigate wildfire chances.

Increased fire danger exists in Wisconsin for Monday, May 16, 2022.
Increased fire danger exists in Wisconsin for Monday, May 16, 2022.(National Weather Service - La Crosse)

The fire danger persists due to a lack of precipitation, low humidity and breezy conditions Monday, according to the National Weather Service in La Crosse. Peak fire danger hours will be in the midday through early evening hours, when winds will pick up and humidity will drop to 20 to 30% across most of western Wisconsin. People that are wanting to burn materials are asked to wait until later in the week when conditions may become more favorable, with rain chances on Tuesday and Thursday night.

The DNR says it has counted 447 wildfires in 2022 to date, which have burned over 628 acres so far this year. That includes 61 fires in the past week burning over 33 acres, according to the DNR, with 15 fires occurring Sunday burning over nine acres. DNR data shows that over one-third of this year’s wildfires (150) have been caused by debris burning.

Last year at this time, 650 wildfires had scorched over 1,780 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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