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June 26, 2012

MADISON - Camping in a state park or forest for the Fourth of July? If so, enjoy fireworks displays in nearby communities - not at picnic areas, campsites or other areas within state parks and forests.

Fireworks are illegal in Wisconsin state parks and forests, according to Jason Fritz, chief ranger for the Wisconsin State Parks Program.

"For the safety of our guests and our resources, our rangers strictly enforce the no fireworks laws," Fritz said. "Fourth of July favorites, the sparkler and the snake, are not defined as 'fireworks' per Wisconsin state law, but most park and forest rangers and superintendents would rather not see them at all because they are a fire hazard."

Public land managers and fire control officials are watching the situation in 14 southern Wisconsin counties especially closely as the region is significantly below normal precipitation levels for this time of year. Without rain prior to the July Fourth holiday, wildfire risk is expected to remain in the High category. To view current fire danger, go to the DNR website and search "fire".

A citation for illegal fireworks in a state park or forest can cost up to $200 and parents could be liable for the full costs of putting out a fire started by their children playing with or setting off fireworks.

In fact, anyone responsible for starting a forest fire in Wisconsin is liable not only for the cost of putting the fire out but also for any damages, notes Catherine Koele, forest fire prevention specialist with the DNR Division of Forestry.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Fritz, 608-266-2152, or Catherine Koele, 608-266-2359

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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