Southern counties’ burn ban includes fireworks

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An emergency burning ban is in effect for 11 counties in the southern part of the state, which means consumer purchased fireworks may have to wait.

The Department of Natural Resources issued the burning ban Thursday morning and expects it to last through the Fourth of July holiday. The ban includes campfires, grilling, smoking and fireworks. It covers all of Crawford, Richland, Sauk, Columbia, Marquette, Green Lake and portions of Iowa, Grant, Dane, Adams and Juneau counties. Catherine Koele is a wildfire prevention specialist with the DNR. She says the timing of the burning ban is unfortunate and unusual, “We rarely see these types of dry conditions in June. We’re at .31 inches of rain in the Madison area, it’s the third lowest in history. It’s just really dry out here and it’s important for us to take a proactive action to prevent unwanted fires right now.”

Dan Jones is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in La Crosse. He says storms have tracked to northwestern Wisconsin, which recently experienced significant flooding. That’s left the southern part of the state bone dry, “It looks like our best, next chances for precipitation for the southern half looks like to be late Saturday into Sunday, but we’re still looking at very small chances right now of about 30-40%.”

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Koele says the DNR isn’t likely to lift the burning ban for a few scattered showers. “With this wind it dries quickly and it’s going to take a lot to get us back to recover where we need to be right now.”

Though all consumer purchased fireworks will likely be banned during Fourth of July, Koele says local governments still can have fireworks displays. But she says the DNR is recommending they delay them until the burning ban is lifted.

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