LRP - Licenses

LRP - Regulations

LRP - Permits

Recreation - Statewide

Recreation - Trapping

Recreation - Fishing

Recreation - Hunting

Env. Protection - Management

Env. Protection - Emergency

Env. Protection - Resources

To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

current fire danger and burning permit restrictions.
an annual burning permit.
current wildfire activity.
the wildfire risk of your property.
Wildfire causes
Smokey Bear's 75th Birthday logo

During 2019, we salute Smokey Bear's efforts to prevent human-caused fires. Happy 75th birthday, Smokey!

Contact information
For more information, contact:
Catherine Koele
Forest fire prevention specialist
715-356-5211 x208

Wildfire causesCampfires

Campfire at a campsite surrounded by rocks being blown by the wind.

The first step in campfire safety is to understand the difference between a campfire and a fire to dispose of debris. Campfires, solely for warming or cooking purposes, are smaller in size and comprised of clean and dry wood, contained within a designated fire ring or surrounded by rocks. Campfires are allowed anytime, except when Emergency Burning Restrictions are in effect. Burning in a fire ring with the intent to eliminate debris is not a campfire and does require a burning permit in DNR protection areas.

No matter what type of outdoor fire you have, check the daily burning restrictions for your area before ignition and never leave a fire unattended. Remember, you may be held responsible for all suppression costs and potentially any damages associated.

Campfire safety

Learn how to build a campfire, maintain it while burning and extinguish when finished.

  • Build

    • Select a level, open location away from prevailing winds and fuels such as logs, brush, leaves and needles.
    • Have easy access to water.
    • The space above your fire must be free from any overhanging branches.
    • Scrape away the surface area right down to mineral soil or non-combustible material.
    • If not in a designated fire ring or pit, scoop a depression in the center of the cleared area and surround with rocks.
    • The fire should be built no larger than necessary for cooking or personal warmth.
    • Now comes the fun part—choosing between three different kinds of campfires [PDF].
  • Burn

    • Keep a shovel and water source nearby at all times.
    • Never leave your campfire unattended.
    • Keep an eye on the weather and extinguish if conditions become less favorable.
    • Never leave children around a fire unattended.
    • If your fire escapes, dial 911 immediately.
  • Extinguish

    • Use the "drown, stir and feel" method:
      • 1) Drown the fire with water.
      • 2) Stir around the fire area with a shovel to wet any remaining embers.
      • 3) Feel the area with the back of your hand to ensure nothing is still smoldering.
    • Stir the ashes and turn the wood with a shovel to uncover hot coals. This will cool the fire faster and allow the water to soak in better.
    • Move some dirt onto the fire site and mix thoroughly to fully smother it.
    • Drown your fire with water as soon as possible after use; the ground will cool faster and the hazard to surrounding trees or shrubs will be greatly reduced.
    • If you circled your campfire with rocks, make sure the rocks are not hiding any hot coals.
    • Drown it again! Make sure the fire is completely cold before leaving the site.

Safety tip: The majority of campfire-caused wildfires in Wisconsin are a result of the person responsible leaving the fire before it was properly extinguished. Never cover your campfire with dirt and walk away from it. This creates a "Dutch oven" and coals may remain hot for days or weeks until conditions are ripe for the fire to escape.

Last revised: Friday April 13 2018