Dry weather has prompted the Department of Natural Resources to impose emergency burning restrictions in 11 southern Wisconsin counties.
The restrictions take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
The emergency burning restrictions apply to all areas outside of incorporated cities and villages in these counties.
But many communities, including Stoughton, Oregon, the village and town of Cottage Grove, Prairie du Sac, Sauk City and Baraboo have put similar burning restrictions in place, prohibiting people from using fireworks or making outdoor fires.
The ban includes smoking outdoors, all fireworks, and outdoor disposal of ashes, charcoal briquettes, matches or any burning material. Campfires are allowed only at camping areas within a metal fire ring.
Municipalities with scheduled holiday fireworks are not under the order. But several cities and villages already have postponed or canceled fireworks displays for the Fourth of July.
The counties include all of Crawford, Richland, Sauk, Columbia, Marquette and Green Lake counties, and parts of Iowa, Grant, Dane, Adams and Juneau counties.
The DNR said the ban will stay in place until significant rainfall comes.
"We are on the edge of drought conditions. We're not quite there just yet; we're abnormally dry right now. If this trend continues, we could be in a serious drought going forward, so it's going to take a series of significant, soaking rain events in order to get us out of this mess," said Catherine Koele, DNR wildfire prevention specialist.
At Lake Kegonsa State Park on Thursday, campers said the burning restrictions make sense.
"I don't know how fast a fire would move through here, but it's plenty dry. You definitely don't want to be separated from your family and kids," said Bob Cox, a camper from Middleton.
Koele said it's a shame the very dry weather has forced the DNR to issue the ban, especially with so many people hoping to light off fireworks and go camping around the Fourth of July.
"Unfortunately, the timing is not great. Our No. 1 priority is the lives and safety of the public and our firefighters," Koele said.
For the most current fire danger information throughout Wisconsin and a detailed look at the areas under Emergency Burning Restrictions, visit dnr.wi.gov.