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For more information about news and media, contact:
Bill Cosh
Director of Communications
608-267-2773

Emergency burning restrictions in effect for several southern Wisconsin counties beginning Friday June 29 at 12:01 a.m.

News Release Published: June 28, 2012 by the South Central Region

Contact(s): Catherine Koele, wildfire prevention specialist, cell 608-219-9075
Andrew Savagian, DNR public affairs manager, 608-261-6422 or 608-275-3317
Bill Cosh, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773

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.

Emergency burn restriction
Emergency burn restrictions. Click on map for PDF file

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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Last Revised: Thursday, June 28, 2012