Fire Danger Remains for Much of Northwest Wisconsin


A large part of northwestern Wisconsin is under burning restrictions just as hunters head to the woods and homeowners look for ways to get rid of leaves.It’s another chapter in a strange fire season.

Twenty counties in the northwest part of the state are facing high fire danger.They’re as far north as Burnett and Price Counties and as far south as La Crosse and Monroe. Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele says Wisconsin typically has two fire seasons in spring and fall but 2012 has been anything but typical, “This has been a quite unusual year for Wisconsin’s fire seasons. It seems like it’s never really ended.

Koele says drought conditions and the browning of the forest are a dangerous combination, “After the leaves fall and the vegetation is dead and dry on the ground and we have a little frost, it kills whatever live vegetation is still around and then we’re right back in fire season again.”

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Now, with hunters heading to the woods and yards filling up with leaves Koele says there are plenty of chances for accidental wildfires to spark, “In the fall our biggest concerns are going to be related to hunting seasons and of course folks choosing to burn their leaves as a technique for removing vegetative materiel in their yard.”

To the west, several wildfires are burning in Minnesota and have even forced the evacuation of at least one town. But Koele says Wisconsin can avoid that same fate by using common sense and heading the DNR’s recommendations, “Avoid burning right now. Any time you can come up with alternatives to burning, that’s your best bet.”

Koele says fire danger changes day by day but the traditional fall fire season usually subsides in sometime in November or when the snow flies.