Emergency burning restrictions will be lifted in 11 central Wisconsin counties on Monday. But the drought continues and burning permits may still be limited.
The emergency burning ban had been in effect for parts of central Wisconsin since June 29. Campfires, fireworks and even smoking outdoors was not allowed. Catherine Koele is a wildfire prevention specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. She says the past two months have made this summer one of the driest on record, but some recent soaking rains are turning things around. “It really boils down to watching vegetation; the greening of vegetation is what really helps us determine whether we’re going to keep those restrictions on.”
The ban is being lifted for all of Adams, Columbia, Green Lake, Marquette, Portage, Waupaca and Waushara counties, and portions of Jackson, Juneau, Monroe and Wood counties. But Koele says even with the recent rains much of the state is still in a significant drought, which may continue through to winter months, “So, now we’re the point where we can relax some of those restrictions with the campfires, backyard fire pits, grill use, that kind of thing. But we’re still going to be looking at suspending burning permits as we go forward.”
Koele says people should refrain from using burn barrels or burning brush and other debris in those counties.