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Tinder dry and dangerous for wildfires

Posted at 1 p.m. on May 2, 2021

The Brillion News

MADISON – The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on Sunday, May 2, said the fire danger remains high and moderate across the state.

There is VERY HIGH fire danger in the following counties: Adams, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Green Lake, Jackson, La Crosse, Marquette, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Portage, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Waupaca, Waushara and Wood.

There is HIGH fire danger in the following counties: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Brown, Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Door, Douglas, Florence, Fond du Lac, Forest, Grant, Green, Iowa, Iron, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Lafayette, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Menominee, Milwaukee, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Polk, Price, Racine, Richland, Rock, Rusk, Sauk, Sawyer, Shawano, Sheboygan, Taylor, Vernon, Vilas, Walworth, Washburn, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago counties.

Warm temperatures, low humidity, breezy southwest winds and dry vegetation make it easy for a fire to start and spread quickly. This a critical period for fire potential and DNR fire control officials remain on high alert across the state.

Call first: The DNR said people should report any fire early by calling 911 immediately, even before attempting to fight the fire.

The DNR has responded to 540 wildfires burning 1,775 acres so far this season, plus many more suppressed by local fire departments and federal partners.

Debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires in Wisconsin. The best way to protect against a wildfire is to stop it before it starts. A fire could quickly start and spread in these conditions.

Campfires, ashes from fireplaces, outdoor grills, smoking, chainsaws, trailer chains, off-road vehicles or other small engines have the potential to throw a spark, ignite a fire and spread quickly. Embers from campfires or burn piles can remain hot for days. Wind can expose smoldering embers hidden in the ashes, allowing them to escape and cause a wildfire.

Pine trees heighten spring fire danger

Although things may look green, spring is a dangerous time for wildfires, especially for pine trees which are in a phenomenon called the “spring dip.” During this time, the moisture content in the needles is low while the starch content is high. This combination, which is not visible to the naked eye, means that pine trees are more likely to catch fire during a wildfire and crown fires (fires in the tree tops) are possible.


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