Wildfire Season Underway, Plan Ahead To Get Your Burning Permit
FROM THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
While spring is always much-welcomed after Wisconsin’s long winters, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds Wisconsinites that while seasonal warm and dry conditions can result in increased wildfire activity.
That’s why DNR staff at the Merrill Ranger Station, LeMay Forestry Center, Wausau Service Center, Medford Ranger Station and Antigo Ranger Station, are gearing up for spring wildfire season and reminding the public to get your burning permit now.
“Weather is the single most important factor influencing how fires start and spread. Temperature, wind, humidity and precipitation are the key weather components that determine the daily fire danger,” said DNR Forest Ranger Zach Hylinski.
Debris burning is the No. 1 cause of Wisconsin’s wildfires, and fires caused by careless burning become more frequent this time of year. This year’s fire season is following a winter with below normal snow depths and fire control officials are focusing on the potential for statewide fire activity as the snow is rapidly melting at the same time. Wildfires can happen just about any time of the year, but history has shown 60% of all wildfires in Wisconsin each year occur in March, April and May alone.
“As people begin to start clean-up their properties from raking leaves, brush and needles, many choose to burn their debris pile,” Hylinski said. “To help prevent fires, consider composting yard waste or hauling it to an approved disposal site. Burning debris should always be the last alternative.”
Once the snow cover is gone, burning permits are required in DNR Protection Areas. Permit holders are allowed to burn vegetative materials, such as leaves, brush and needles in a safe manner with minimal wildfire risk.
DNR burning permits are free and can be obtained online and instantly emailed or issued over the phone and delivered by the U.S. Postal Service postal service within three to five business days. Get your annual DNR burning permit by completing the online application here or by calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876).
The DNR issued nearly 48,000 burning permits electronically in 2021. More and more customers are heading online to obtain their written burning permit. It’s quick and easy.
The DNR would like to remind the public to plan ahead to obtain their written burning permit as many business emergency fire warden locations have altered their operating hours or are no longer issuing burning permits in-person.
Once an individual has a burning permit, remember to check the fire restrictions in the appropriate county after 11 a.m. each day before burning, including the legal burning hours, size limitations or if burning is suspended for the day. Small campfires for warming or cooking do not require a burning permit.
“It’s important to check the daily fire restrictions each day before you burn. With a little planning and dedication to getting your burn permit and following the rules, we can all work together to prevent wildfires,” says Hylinski.
Because the DNR does not regulate all areas across the state, it’s essential to check with local municipal or fire department officials for any ordinances or other burning restrictions.
The DNR’s burning restrictions webpage provides more information on burning permits, fire danger, and preparing for wildfires around your home and property.