Fire hose

St. Croix and Pierce counties' fire outlook is a bit better than much of the state. But at "high" risk instead of "very high," the danger is real.

The Department of Natural Resources on May 14 asked the public to stay vigilant and avoid burning because of wildfire danger across Wisconsin, particularly in the northern two-thirds of the state.

The increased fire danger is due to the low relative humidities expected across the state, with the lowest values expected across northern Wisconsin. Temperatures will be warm and the air over Wisconsin will be dry, which are weather conditions that aid in the spread of fires.

It was eight years ago this day that under similar conditions that the Germann Road Fire – one of the largest wildfires in Wisconsin in more than 30 years – consumed 7,499 acres and destroyed 104 structures (23 of them residences) in the towns of Gordon and Highland in Douglas County and the town of Barnes in Bayfield County.

Although the Germann Road Fire was started unintentionally from a logging crew harvesting timber on industrial timber lands, burning debris is the leading cause of Wisconsin’s wildfires. Forty percent of all wildfires in Wisconsin this year alone have been related to debris burning, the DNR said.

The DNR has responded to 611 wildfires burning more than 1,700 acres so far this year, plus many more suppressed by local fire departments and federal partners – 53 of those fires occurred last week alone.

People should be extra careful with any outdoor flames, campfires, ash disposal or equipment use. Please check any recent debris burns for smoldering embers, as breezy conditions can cause fires to rekindle.

Check daily fire danger, wildfire reports and burning restrictions at bit.ly/WiFireDanger.

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