Contact(s): Catherine Koele (608) 219-9075 Bob Manwell (608) 209-8148
MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with the National Weather Service, has announced that a Red Flag Warning is in effect today in nearly all of Wisconsin. The warning is expected to be in effect at least through Easter Sunday. A Red Flag Warning is issued when wind, temperature and humidity combine to produce conditions supporting extreme fire behavior, should a fire occur. Only Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, Door and Iron counties are not included in the alert. Introducing any fire in the outdoors is strongly discouraged today. The DNR will be suspending all buring permits and citizens should check with local fire officials for any additional restrictions in place.
This alert means that large forest fires are possible due to the predicted weather conditions. On Thursday, officials placed an emergency burning restriction order on areas in northwest Wisconsin impacted by last July's windstorm that damaged trees over a 250,000 acre area.
Continued dry and windy weather in much of Wisconsin is pushing wildfire risks into the "extreme" range in many areas. Hazardous conditions are expected to continue until there is a change in current weather patterns, say Department of Natural Resources fire control officials. Fire danger ratings are available on line at dnr.wi.gov keyword "burn."
Under extreme conditions fires start easily from a match, hot coals, vehicle exhaust systems, or spark, burn fiercely and move into tree tops readily.
"We're urging extreme caution in all outdoor activities," said Trent Marty, director of DNR's Bureau of Forest Protection. "We request that no campfires be made, that persons refrain from smoking in woody or grassy areas and dispose of hot ashes or charcoal briquettes in a non-combustible container with a lid. We are also recommending that in the red flag warning areas, people report any outdoor burning they observe to their local dispatch center or Ranger Station."
"In Wisconsin, people are liable for suppression costs and damages caused by fires they start," reminds Marty. "At this time of year in these conditions a fire can be started by simply parking a hot vehicle over dry grass."