Best time to burn brush is when the ground is snow covered
Published: December 19, 2011 by the South Central Region
Contact(s): Steve Williamson - (608) 588-7725 or Ellen Gundrum - (608) 375-4232
BOSCOBEL, Wis. - State wildfire control personnel are encouraging people to take advantage of the snow if they have brush piles to burn. Consistent snow cover greatly reduces the likelihood that a fire will get out of control. While the ground is snow-covered, state statutes do not require burning permits unless restricted by local municipalities, burning may be conducted during daytime hours.
"Basic fire safety precautions are necessary even with snow on the ground" says Steve Williamson, a Department of Natural Resources forestry technician at Spring Green. "Brush piles should be located a safe distance from buildings, firewood piles, evergreen trees and shrubs, vehicles, and other potentially flammable items. There has been little snow-cover so far this winter so people should be extra-careful about where they place their burn-pile and make sure fire suppression tools like rakes, shovels and water are close at hand. Burning should not be conducted when the wind is likely to blow smoke across roads."
People are encouraged to notify their local sheriff's department using a non-emergency number if they will be lighting a fire that is likely to be visible to others. Doing so can prevent the local fire department firefighters from making an unnecessary run if someone sees the burn and reports it as a fire to the 911 Dispatch Center.
Even though burning permits are not yet in effect for 2012, people can pick up their annual burning permit from any local fire warden when it is convenient for them to do so. People can also request that a burning permit be e-mailed or USPS-mailed to them by calling the toll free hotline (1-888-947-2876) and following the prompts. Burners must have their permits in hand prior to conducting outside burning when permits are required.
Air quality regulations restrict the items that may legally be burned to clean untreated wood, clean unrecyclable paper products, and vegetation. Plastic, garbage, asphalt, treated or painted wood, rubber or oily substances may not be burned. Burning these products produces toxic smoke and ash that include known carcinogens.
People can also check the DNR website for alternatives to opening burning, such as composting and recycling.
Additional information about burning regulations is available from the Fire Control Office at Wilson State Nursery just east of Boscobel on Highway 133 or by calling 375-4232.