Blowdown Sparks Emergency Burning Restrictions

By KBJR News 1

April 5, 2012 Updated Apr 5, 2012 at 9:28 PM CDT

Siren, WI (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- The strong storms that moved through Northwestern Wisconsin last summer are fueling concerns just days into the fire season.

Thousands of acres of blow down are forcing officials to enact emergency burning restrictions.

The danger is also sparking concern by the state's governor who visited the area today.

This single engine prop plane isn't your average aircraft it's one of the many tools the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has at its disposal for the 2012 fire fighting season.

They've got their work cut out for them with thousands of acres of blow down trees and a winter that refused to snow and a spring that has come a month early.

It's caught Governor Scott Walker's attention.

"You got a dramatic increase in the amount of equipment that's available for fighting fires."

He got a firsthand look at the state's fire suppression plan and to see this tanker dump 800 gallons of water.

The Governor says he's cautiously optimistic.

"Just because there is a lot of equipment here that people don't need to take these restrictions seriously"

Governor Walker is talking about emergency burning restrictions for the blow down area.

"Almost all of our forest fires are started by people, 40 percent of those are started by people burning debris. So we have put a ban on debris burning, as well as a ban on outdoor camp fires and outdoor smoking and grilling"

State officials say they're very serious about these restrictions.

"The bottom line is that the best way to start a forest fire is not have it happen in the first place and the best way to do that is to abide by these burning restrictions"

There is no end date to the restrictions, but DNR officials say once everything greens up, they should be lifted.

In Siren, Zach Vavricka with the Northlands NewsCenter.

For a complete list of the burning the burning restrictions click on this link: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/documents/EBR_area_NW.pdf

Zach Vavricka

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