Check
current fire danger and burning permit restrictions.
Obtain
an annual burning permit.
Find
an emergency fire warden.
Contact Information
Mike Warnke
Forest Fire and Law Enforcement Section Chief
608-264-6044

Burning permits

When used appropriately, burning permits are an important tool in wildfire prevention. They allow the public to burn legal materials in the outdoors and are proven to be effective in protecting lives, property, and natural resources from the damages of unwanted wildfires.

The simple steps to being a responsible debris burner

  1. Obtain the annual burning permit online or by calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) to have a permit mailed or instantly emailed. Permits are also available at a local Ranger Station or from an Emergency Fire Warden.
  2. On the day of the burn, check on the internet or over the phone after 11:00 a.m. for the daily fire restrictions in the county where you wish to burn:

    dnr.wi.gov/wisburn

    OR

    1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876)

    (enter the County Code)

  3. Follow the rules for the day. Have tools and water available, and make certain your fire is completely out before leaving.

    Burning Permits, It’s Your Responsibility [PDF] is a printable summary of statewide forest fire regulations and other basic fire program information.

Information you will receive

Since weather conditions can change rapidly throughout Wisconsin, fire managers set fire restrictions based on the current and predicted fire danger for the day. After you have selected the county where you wish to burn, the toll-free number or internet will provide you with the most up-to-date fire restriction information. These restrictions will tell you if burning permits are required, time and size restrictions, or if burning has been suspended due to increased forest fire danger. Remember, you must check daily after 11 a.m. on the day you wish to burn regardless of whether or not you are planning to burn on the ground or in a barrel.

What types of burning requires a permit

Intended primarily for vegetative debris removal, DNR annual burning permits are issued to landowners for burning on the ground and in barrels. These no-cost permits are good for the calendar year and are non-transferable.

Special burning permits and permits for commercial contractors may be issued for larger quantities, all day burning, and broadcast burns exceeding the local maximum size limit. Contact your local DNR Ranger Station—they’ll let you know if you qualify.

Campfires, for warming or cooking purposes, do not require a burning permit and are allowed anytime except during Emergency Burning Restrictions. Burning in a fire ring with the intent to remove debris is not a campfire and therefore a permit is required.

Who makes the rules where I plan to burn

It is your responsibility to know where you are burning and what restrictions apply. DNR annual burning permits are only valid within DNR Protection Areas and outside incorporated cities and villages. Remember, you must also comply with local ordinances that may be more restrictive than state law. Contact your local fire department, town chairperson, or local municipal official if you have any questions.

Fire Protection Areas

To see detailed maps of DNR Protection Areas, select the county where the customer wishes to burn:

Liability for wildfires

It's your responsibility to have a permit available and ready to show to law enforcement personnel or firefighters if requested at any time while burning. Failure to obtain a permit or comply with the daily restrictions could result in a citation.

If your fire escapes and starts a wildfire, you may be held liable for all suppression costs. Any person, whose property is injured or destroyed by your fire, may also recover, in a civil action, the value of timber or damages suffered.

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

Debris burning should always be your last alternative. Consider alternatives like composting or leaving your vegetative debris in the woods for wildlife to enjoy. If you still choose to burn, keep in mind what's allowable to burn with your DNR annual permit:

extinquishing fire
Make sure your fire is completely extinguished before you leave.

Allowed Prohibited
  • Brush
  • Leaves
  • Needles
  • Grass
  • Clean wood
  • Unrecyclable paper*
  • Unrecyclable cardboard*
  • Garbage
  • Plastics
  • Shingles
  • Foam
  • Furniture
  • Wire
  • Metal
  • Aluminum
  • Vinyl products
  • Rubber products
  • Oil-based products

*Remember, recycling of clean paper and cardboard is required

The DNR strongly discourages the use of burn barrels. Burn barrels emit dioxin, acid vapors, carcinogenic tars, and "heavy metals" such as lead, cadmium and chromium, as well as unhealthy amounts of carbon monoxide. Note: small businesses, commercial enterprises, and industries may not use burn barrels or engage in other kinds of open burning for any waste generated by the businesses.

Materials that may not be burned in a burn barrel or debris pile also may not be burned in a furnace, wood stove or similar home heating system.

County codes

CountyCodeSpell
Adams012326
Ashland022745
Barron032277
Bayfield042293
Brown*052769
Buffalo*062833
Burnett072876
Calumet*082258
Chippewa092447
Clark102527
Columbia112658
Crawford122729
Dane133263
Dodge*143634
Door*153667
Douglas163684
Dunn*173866
Eau Claire183282
Florence193567
Fond du Lac*203663
Forest213673
Grant224726
Green*234733
Green Lake244733
Iowa254692
Iron264766
Jackson275225
Jefferson*285333
Juneau295863
Kenosha*305366
Kewaunee*315392
LaCrosse*325227
Lafayette*335232
Langlade345264
Lincoln355462
Manitowoc*366264
Marathon376272
Marinette386274
Marquette396277
Menominee406366
Milwaukee*416492
Monroe426667
Oconto436266
Oneida446634
Outagamie*456882
Ozaukee*466928
Pepin*477374
Pierce*487437
Polk497655
Portage507678
Price517742
Racine*527224
Richland537424
Rock*547625
Rusk557875
St. Croix*567246
Sauk577285
Sawyer587299
Shawano597429
Sheboygan*607432
Taylor618295
Trempealeau*628736
Vernon*638376
Vilas648452
Walworth*659259
Washburn669274
Washington*679274
Waukesha*689285
Waupaca699287
Waushara709287
Winnebago*719466
Wood729663
Last Revised: Friday October 17 2014