Published: April 1, 2013 by the South Central Region
Contact(s): Todd Kenefick, Richland County forester, 608-647-7981; Ellen Gundrum, Crawford, Grant & Iowa counties forester, 608-375-4232; Bob Manwell 608-275-3317
RICHLAND CENTER, Wis. - Rapidly melting snow cover usually encourages landowners to get busy with spring clean-up chores that often involve outdoor burning of winter's debris. Department of Natural Resources' fire control staff remind citizens that state laws require a burning permit from January 1 through May 31 unless the ground is completely snow-covered where the burning will take place in areas where DNR has primary wildland fire control responsibility.
Permits are free and one annual burning permit covers all regular burning. Regular burning includes small brush piles, areas of land (less than 10 acres) and burn barrels between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight.
Permits may be obtained in person, by phone or online. DNR offices or Emergency Fire Wardens can prepare a permit for you on the spot. A complete list of Emergency Fire Wardens can be found online at dnr.wi.gov by entering the keywords "fire warden" in the search box.
Prospective burners may also call the toll free hot-line 1-888-947-2876 and ask for a permit to be mailed or emailed. Permits are available online at dnr.wi.gov using the keywords "burn permit". You should not burn until you have a paper copy of the burning permit in your possession. Special Permits are required for all proposed burning done prior to 6 p.m. daily and all burns over ten acres in size. Special Permits are issued by the DNR on a very limited basis and only after review by DNR fire control personnel.
Burning restrictions updated daily at 11 a.m.
People must check for and follow any burning restrictions that may be in effect for the day the burning will take place. Restrictions are updated daily at 11 a.m. and can checked by calling the toll free hot-line 1-888-WIS-BURN or by visiting the DNR website dnr.wi.gov keyword "fire". People using the toll-free hotline will need to enter their county code to hear the restrictions for the county where the burning will be done. Daily restrictions apply to all outdoor burning including burn barrels.
People burning without a permit or burning contrary to their permit restrictions are subject to civil forfeiture and related court costs of about $175. People whose fires escape are responsible for all suppression costs and may be held liable for double the damages to adjacent properties.
Alternatives to burning & prohibited materials
Burning solid waste materials, such as treated wood, plastic, household garbage and most other trash is prohibited statewide. Local ordinances may be more stringent than statewide requirements. Burning these materials can release toxic fumes and noxious odors. Consider alternative disposal methods for these items and others by composting, recycling or landfilling.
Regular burning permits can be obtained from a DNR Emergency Fire Warden or DNR office at the following locations:
Grant County: Donna Gebhard in Woodman Recycling Center; Wilson State Nursery and Krogen's Do It Best Store in Boscobel; the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Office in Muscoda; Blue River's New Horizon store, George Hrubes (at Castle Rock Inn) in Castle Rock.
Crawford County: Young's TV in Soldiers Grove, and The Marketplace in Gays Mills; Ferryville Cheese & More in Mt Sterling; Adam Trautsch, and Dean Trautsch at the Eastman Fire Department; Ruth Powell at the Haney Recycling Center; Tractor Supply Company in Prairie du Chien; Greener's Corners in Seneca, Todd Myers at the County Highway Shop in Seneca
Richland County: Boaz County Store in Dayton; Marilyn Williamson (County Treasurer) in Eagle; Land Conservation Office, Walsh's Ace Hardware in Richland Center, Matthes Farms in Viola, DNR Forestry Office in Richland; Chris Noble (at The Port) , Natural Bridge Grocery in Rockbridge
Western Iowa County: Highland State Bank in Highland