Contact(s): Catherine Koele (608) 219-9075 (cell) Bill Cosh (608) 267-2773 (office), 608-575-6821 (cell)
MADISON - A day after a wildfire consumed nearly 9,000 acres and 47 structures in Douglas County, 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 Florence and Marinette counties and all DNR burning permits suspended statewide today.
A Red Flag Warning is issued when wind, temperature and humidity combine to produce conditions supporting extreme fire behavior, should a fire occur. Introducing any fire in the outdoors is strongly discouraged today. The DNR will be suspending all burning 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. Continued dry and windy weather in much of Wisconsin is pushing wildfire danger into the "very high" range in most of the state. 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 "fire."
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 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 asking that people report any smoke they see in the air immediately by dialing 911."
"We cannot afford another big fire today," says Marty. "We have several resources from outside the area assisting with suppression efforts in the north. Public compliance would be greatly appreciated in this time of increased fire risk."