Fire danger “very high” in Northeast Wisconsin

The DNR reported more than 70 wildfires this past weekend
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 4:11 PM CDT
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FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - More than 70 wildfires burned over the weekend in Wisconsin. The DNR lists the fire danger as “very high” across the Northeast Wisconsin region.

Warm temperatures, low humidity, and dry brush make springtime in Wisconsin fire danger season. Add gusty winds and one small spark can be so dangerous this time of year.

A home in Fond du Lac was destroyed late last month by an undetermined fire. Several neighboring properties were damaged too. According to Fond du Lac Fire Rescue, shifting winds, blowing at about 15 miles per hour, fueled the fire. So, you can only imagine what the current wind conditions could do.

“In conditions like this, with the wind gusts, it’s not safe and it really can grow quickly. Residential structure fires can double in size every 30 seconds and they grow even faster when it’s wildland brush and vegetation that’s out in the community,” says Division Chief Jason Roberts from Fond du Lac Fire Rescue.

And, there is plenty of that brush and dry vegetation around the region. The risk of brush and wildland fires is always increased this time of year because of the dry conditions. Adding in the winds and it’s a recipe for potential disaster.

“Higher temperatures right now, the RH values are a little higher than we’ve seen the last couple of days. But, the extremely high winds, the 30 to 50 mile per hour gusts and the fact the vegetation is basically tinder dry and ready to go,” says Jon Kellerman.

Kellerman is a wildland fire instructor at Fox Valley Tech. He’s with a team of students in Wautoma on standby to help the DNR respond to wildland fires. While the crew hasn’t seen any action yet, they know a brush or wildfire is just a single spark away. He adds, “Don’t burn if you don’t have to. Being very cautious with your campfires. Being cautious with any kind of fire that you have out there -- even grills, all of those things that could potentially start a fire. So just be extremely cautious, really on these high wind days.”

Every municipality is different when it comes to burning regulations and what is or isn’t allowed right now. People are encouraged to check with their local communities before starting any kind of recreational fire.

Warm temperatures, low humidity and dry vegetation are a recipe for wildfires

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