Spring in Wisconsin has the highest fire risk with the No. 1 cause of wildfires being debris burning. Wildfires pose a serious threat to public safety, property and our natural resources. People cause over 98% of all wildfires in Wisconsin.
Due to the COVID-19 “safer at home” order, the DNR is taking proactive measures by suspending all DNR burning permits until further notice to protect the health and safety of Wisconsinites.
All burning of debris in barrels, burning of debris piles on the ground, grass or wooded areas is prohibited at this time.
Most debris fires occur in the spring after the snow-cover melts and before vegetation greening. Spring is when people are outside doing yard clean-up and then choosing to burn leaves, brush and pine needles.
Burning permits are required by the DNR in many parts of the state to conduct legal and responsible burning in the outdoors. Burning permits are also required by the DNR in DNR forest fire protection areas to conduct burning of legal materials when the ground is not completely snow-covered.
DNR burning permits do not apply within incorporated cities and villages. These municipalities oftentimes can and do create their own burning permit requirements. In addition, some townships may choose to be much more restrictive than state law and may not allow burning at any time.
Regardless of where you burn, it is up to you to check with your local municipality for their regulations, even if you have obtained a DNR burning permit. Not sure if your burn location falls within DNR forest fire protection? For a more detailed look, zoom-in to your location on the burning restrictions map.
Emergency responders and firefighters have an increased need to take pandemic precautions, so they remain available to continue to protect the public from wildfires and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Patience and understanding is appreciated. Remember to report wildfires by dialing 911 immediately.
Distance is key during this public health emergency. Staying home as much as possible and limiting travel to your community is the best way to lower COVID-19 infection rates.
DNR continues to receive the most up-to-date information and will adjust operations as conditions change. They will also continue to monitor on-the-ground circumstances each day to determine if park closures become necessary.