Debris Burning, Windy Weather to Blame for Series of Grass Fires

Debris burning and windy, warm weather are to blame for a number of grass and forest fires in the south central Wis. area Friday.

The Wis. Dept. of Natural Resources says crews responded to around a half a dozen fires scattered across Columbia, Iowa, Grant and Sauk Counties, all stemming from people burning brush.

"Today we had the right combination of higher winds, lower humidity and nicer temperatures," said Aaron Young, the Area Forestry Leader for the DNR. "Where people were out working, doing some spring cleaning for the most part it appeared. Whether it was a burn barrel or a debris pile, the fire was able to get away from them and caused a forest fire. Most of the time, they did not have a permit."

Young says if people do have to dispose of brush, try to take it to a landfill or a recycling center. If burning is the only option, get a permit first, then wait to do it until evening when it's cooler outside and less windy.

"I think most individuals were thinking that over the last ten days of rain we've had that it was pretty moist out there, that conditions were safe," Young said. "But in reality, it's that time of year when we transition. Not everything is up and growing yet. We have dead leaves, dead grass on the ground, those dry out very quickly."

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