COVID-19 and burning

Effective Friday, March 27, all Department of Natural Resources burning permits are suspended and burning is banned until further notice.

What does this mean?

All DNR burn permits suspended and will no longer be issued (written or electronically). No burning debris piles in barrels, on the ground, grass or wooded areas. Small campfires for warming or cooking are OK but strongly discouraged; burning debris in a campfire ring is not considered a campfire.

How will I know when I get a burn permit and/or burn debris again?

Check website dnr.wi.gov, keyword “fire” and the DNR social media for the up-to-date status.

DNR will continue to remain in compliance with department leadership mandates and recommendations and will evaluate wildfire and pandemic risks as the situation evolves.

Why is this being done?

Spring in Wisconsin has the highest fire risk; debris burning is the #1 cause. After snowmelt and before green-up when vegetation is dry (March-May).  People are traditionally doing yard clean-up and choose to burn to dispose of yard waste, increasing fire risk. Increase social distancing/decrease person-to-person contact and decrease geographic travel of emergency responders and firefighters. Teleworking and reduced number of available staff may result in compromised emergency response and can result in rapid wildfire growth. Reduce smoke impact to those with compromised respiratory functions and firefighters.

Are public services still being provided?

Fire and emergency response personnel are prepared to respond as usual. They are operating on more strict standard operating procedures (e.g., one person per vehicle, sanitizing equipment, precautions when interacting with others, etc.). Response time may be slower (see above). Fire detection measures include citizen reporting and patrol aircraft; report fires early, dial 911.

What if I have a special situation/need?

Special burning permits may be allowed for time-sensitive reasons and with a site inspection (e.g., agricultural site prep or land clearing development). Contact your local forester to discuss; please allow extra response time. You may be asked to video or photo the site and email or text images.

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