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December 18, 2012

MADISON -- Crucial maps necessary for identifying wildfire potential in three upper Midwest states are about to get important updates by Department of Natural Resources scientists and foresters thanks to a $100,000 donation from the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp called the donation a "generous" contribution that will support agency collaboration and will bring benefits with improved customer service to Wisconsin and to two Midwest neighbors.

"These dollars will be used to update information about what is growing and could burn in areas susceptible to wildfires. It also will be well-used information for places used for prescribed burns," Stepp said of the donation received at the Wednesday Natural Resources Board meeting. "This type of updated scientific information is vital when it comes to emergency responses to a wildlfire - as well as when making decisions about keeping prescribed burns safe. This is a very generous donation from the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact and it is very much appreciated."

The dollars will be used to help update an interagency mapping program known as LANDFIRE (exit DNR). The updates will apply to the maps for Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The donations will be used to support forest fire research work by two DNR divisions working collaboratively - Science Services and Forestry. Jack Sullivan of the Bureau of Science Services and Chief Forester Paul DeLong say their two programs will work jointly to implement the fresh information during the coming two years.

Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota work together to prevent and to contain costly and sometimes deadly wildfires as members of the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact. The Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact (exit DNR) was developed to share resources for forest fire prevention, training and suppression across the region to benefit each participating state and province. So far in 2012, Wisconsin has had 1,496 wildfires that have burned just more than 2,805 acres statewide.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tricia Knoot, Research Scientist of DNR Wildlife and Forestry Research - Bureau of Science Services, 608-516-5978; Jim Barnier, Fire and Law Enforcement - Division of Forestry, 608-253-6714; Joanne Haas, Public Affairs - Bureau of Law Enforcement/Division of Forestry, 608-267-0798.

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 18, 2012

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