Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WIDNR - Warden Wire: Douglas Co. wildfire takes about 9,000 acres; statewide fire alerts on for today

Wildfire crews, wardens on duty in northwest; state on very high fire alert

Wildfire risk again elevates statewide with dry, windy conditions and Red Flag warnings for two counties

A day after a wildfire consumed nearly 9,000 acres and 47 structures in Douglas County, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with the National Weather Service, issued a Red Flag Warning today for Florence and Marinette counties and suspended all DNR burning permits statewide.

A Red Flag Warning is issued when wind, temperature and humidity combine to produce conditions supporting extreme fire behavior, should a fire occur. Introducing any fire in the outdoors is strongly discouraged today.

In addition to the DNR suspension of all burning permits, you should check with your local fire officials for any additional restrictions in place.

This alert means that large forest fires are possible due to the predicted weather conditions. Continued dry and windy weather in much of Wisconsin is pushing wildfire risks into the “very high” range in most of the state.

DNR fire control officials say hazardous conditions are expected to continue until there is a change in current weather patterns. Fire danger ratings are available on line at keyword “fire.”

Under extreme conditions fires start easily from a match, hot coals, vehicle exhaust systems, or spark, burn fiercely and move into tree tops readily.

“We’re urging extreme caution in all outdoor activities,” DNR Bureau of Forest Protection Director Trent Marty says. “We request that no campfires be made, that persons refrain from smoking in woody or grassy areas and dispose of hot ashes or charcoal briquettes in a non-combustible container with a lid. We are also asking that people report any smoke they see in the air immediately by dialing 911.

“We cannot afford another big fire today,” says Marty. “We have several resources from outside the area assisting with suppression efforts in the north. Public compliance would be greatly appreciated in this time of increased fire risk.”

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