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July 3, 2012

Restrictions still in effect for several southern Wisconsin counties

MADISON - Emergency burning restrictions continue to be in effect for 11 counties in southern Wisconsin until significant precipitation occurs. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has primary wildfire prevention and suppression responsibilities and the authority under state laws to implement emergency burning restrictions in 43 counties, including the 11 currently under those restrictions.

DNR Wildfire Protection Areas
DNR Wildfire Protection Areas

For 29 counties, including many southern and southeast Wisconsin counties, primary responsibility for wildfire prevention and suppression lies with local units of government and they have control over emergency burn bans.

The DNR is encouraging local municipalities outside the restricted area to take all the necessary steps to avoid any fire in the outdoors. The fire danger remains at "high" or "very high" throughout the southern half of Wisconsin and there is no significant precipitation in the forecast.

Many area municipalities are implementing their own burn bans or cancelling organized fireworks events due to the very high fire danger. Other government organizations are issuing fire safety advisories in hopes of preventing any human-caused fires. A model ordinance for local governments is available on the DNR website.

"Since implementing these restrictions, we've had numerous inquiries from fire departments, county emergency management and various town officials outside the restricted area wanting to know how they can help," said Trent Marty, director of DNR's Bureau of Forest Protection.

For areas outside DNR Protection, fire prevention and suppression efforts are delegated to the local town chairs and fire departments. Marty states, "it's important that we continue to work together and use the tools available to us to properly advise the public of the seriousness of the situation."

Last year, the DNR launched a website that makes daily updates to the fire danger in every county throughout Wisconsin. The DNR also has model burning ordinances and burning permit templates available for local use. "This situation has generated a lot interest by local governments who currently do not have any burning restrictions in place, to seriously think about things for the future."

Currently, all of Crawford, Richland, Sauk, Columbia, Marquette, Green Lake and portions of Iowa, Grant, Dane, Adams, & Juneau counties are impacted by these emergency burning restrictions. Emergency burning restrictions apply to the designated areas that are outside incorporated cities and villages in these counties.

Under DNR restrictions, burning of any combustible material outdoors is prohibited until further notice. This applies burning in barrels, debris piles, grass or wooded areas, campfires (except developed campgrounds in a metal fire ring), fireworks, smoking or disposing matches, ashes, or charcoal briquettes in the outdoors.

For the most current fire danger information throughout Wisconsin and a detailed look at the areas under Emergency Burning Restrictions, visit keyword "fire" and select the county of interest. Otherwise, residents and tourists are encouraged to contact their local DNR office or local fire department, town or municipal officials for more information on local fire restrictions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Manwell, DNR Office of Communications, 608-264-9248

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 03, 2012

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