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UPDATE: 8 Central Wisconsin Counties Added to Emergency Burning Restriction Order

UPDATED Thursday, July 12, 2012 --- 2:19 p.m.

MADISON – Emergency burning restrictions will be extended to include Jackson, Monroe, Waupaca, Wood, Portage and Waushara counties and additional portions of Adams and Juneau counties, and campfires have been banned in four Wisconsin State Parks system properties including Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, the Lapham Peak unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest, Richard Bong State Recreation Area and Big Foot Beach State Park until further notice due to continued drought and high to very high fire danger conditions.

The extended Emergency Burning Restrictions and the park campfire bans are effective Friday, July 13 at 12:01 a.m.

Emergency burning restrictions currently are in effect in all of Crawford, Richland, Sauk, Columbia, Marquette, Green Lake and portions of Iowa, Grant, Dane, Adams, and Juneau counties. In these and in counties added today the restrictions apply to areas within DNR organized protection that are outside incorporated cities and villages in these counties.

“It’s dry. You can tell by how many people are looking for the word ‘rain’ in weather forecasts, including myself. The cured, brown grass will catch fire easily and will burn readily. We need the public to help prevent fires by being aware of current conditions and by following the burn ban guidelines,” said Trent Marty, DNR forest protection director.
Under Emergency Burning Restrictions, burning of any combustible material outdoors is prohibited until further notice. This includes:

-all fireworks (restricted and non-restricted);
-combustible material in a burn pile or burn barrel, including grass or wooded areas (all DNR burn permits suspended);
- campfires with the exception of developed camping areas within a metal fire ring;
-outdoor disposal of ashes, charcoal briquettes, matches or any burning material; and
-smoking a cigar, cigarette, or pipe, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.

The DNR intends to keep the emergency burning restrictions in place until a significant amount of precipitation is received according to state fire control officials who caution that fire danger is increasing outside the restricted areas as well and that burn permits may be suspended in other areas in days to come.

For the most current fire danger information throughout Wisconsin and a detailed look at the areas under Emergency Burning Restrictions, visit dnr.wi.gov keyword “fire” and select the county of interest. Otherwise, residents and tourists are encouraged to contact their local DNR office or local fire department, town or municipal officials for more information on local fire restrictions.
Visitor Safety is top priority in State Parks

“Sitting around the campfire is one of the special things that make camping in Wisconsin State Parks so memorable,” said Jerry Leiterman, acting operations director for Wisconsin State Parks. “But given the extended dry weather we are experiencing this is a necessary precaution at this time to protect our parks and our most important asset…our visitors.”

Cooking will still be allowed but is restricted to charcoal cooking fires in campsite metal fire rings, self-contained portable grills, and permanently mounted picnic grills. Properties will provide a metal or concrete container to dispose of ash generated from self-contained portable grills and permanently mounted picnic grills outside of campgrounds. Gas cooking stoves will be allowed.

Outdoor smoking of a pipe, cigarette or cigar also is banned on these park properties. Smoking is allowed inside a vehicle with disposal of all burning materials in a non-combustible receptacle or ashtray
State parks officials are instituting the campfire ban to protect property and visitors in the four state park system properties which lie outside counties for which DNR has primary fire suppression and prevention responsibilities.

Counties in the vicinity of the listed parks have instituted their own outdoor burning restrictions. Recent wildfires, while quickly contained, have exhibited extreme fire behavior and required extensive mop up to prevent re-ignition.

“Park staff will begin calling all incoming campers holding reservations for the upcoming weekend with a heads-up on these changes,” said Leiterman. “Greeters at our entry stations will also be informing incoming visitors of the restrictions.

“We will lift restrictions just as soon as we possibly can. Visitor safety is and always will be our number one priority.”

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Posted Thursday, June 28, 2012 --- 11:56 a.m.

Press Release from the DNR:

Officials stress seriousness of situation with upcoming July Fourth holiday

MADISON – Emergency burning restrictions for 11 counties in southern Wisconsin will begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 29, 2012 in fire protection areas under control of the Department of Natural Resources. All of Crawford, Richland, Sauk, Columbia, Marquette, Green Lake and portions of Iowa, Grant, Dane, Adams, & Juneau counties are impacted by these emergency burning restrictions. Emergency burning restrictions apply to the designated areas that are outside incorporated cities and villages in these counties.

Under these restrictions, burning of any combustible material outdoors is prohibited until further notice. This includes:

-all fireworks (restricted and non-restricted);
-combustible material in a burn pile or burn barrel, including grass or wooded areas (all DNR burn permits suspended);
-campfires with the exception of developed camping areas within a metal fire ring;
-outdoor disposal of ashes, charcoal briquettes, matches or any burning material; and
-smoking a cigar, cigarette, or pipe, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.

The burning restrictions are primarily due to the lack of precipitation resulting in abnormally dry conditions developing over southern Wisconsin. Record low amounts of precipitation have occurred in the month of June; the Madison area is on pace to be the third driest on record with a mere 0.31 inches of rain. The fire danger level remains at “very high” in several counties making the possibility for wildfires a real concern.

“With the extreme temperatures expected, we had to take a proactive approach by implementing these restrictions in order to keep emergency responders and the public safe,” says Catherine Koele, DNR wildfire prevention specialist. “We can’t afford a single human-caused wildfire right now, especially with the July Fourth holiday upon us.”

Many area municipalities are implementing their own burn bans or cancelling organized fireworks events due to the very high fire danger.

“This underscores the fact that it is tinder dry out there and the fire danger continues to elevate each day we do not receive rain,” Koele said.

Communities with fireworks displays held in incorporated cities and villages within the restricted area are encouraged to work with local fire personnel to evaluate the conditions make informed decisions on holding these upcoming events in order to keep the public safe. The DNR is encouraging these officials to take extra precautions such as wetting down the areas and heightened fire patrols during these organized events.

The DNR intends to keep the emergency burning restrictions in place until a significant amount of precipitation is received. “It’s going to take several good soaking rain events to get us out of these untimely circumstances,” says Koele.

For the most current fire danger information throughout Wisconsin and a detailed look at the areas under Emergency Burning Restrictions, visit dnr.wi.gov keyword “fire” and select the county of interest. Otherwise, residents and tourists are encouraged to contact their local DNR office or local fire department, town or municipal officials for more information on local fire restrictions.


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