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State officials warn residents of wildfire danger

Warmer days, gusty winds are perfect combination for starting wildfire

State officials warn residents of wildfire danger

MADISON, Wis. - The Madison area is finally experiencing some warmer temperatures, and while we might enjoy basking in the sun, the Department of Natural Resources admits that warmer days and gusty winds are just the right combination to start a wildfire.

"Typically right now, especially when the snow is retreating, we have a lot of fine fuels and dry grasses left from the year before. Those dry out really quickly and they burn very readily," said Bob Manwell, Wisconsin DNR public affairs manager.

Last year's Germann Road fire in northern Wisconsin scorched over 9,000 acres in just 24 hours and started shortly after snow had left the area.

High fire warnings are in effect for tomorrow, mostly due to the warmer temperatures and expected 30 mile per hour winds. Manwell said it's important that the public does their part to minimize the chances of a fire.

"Anyone who has set a fire, or burned a pile in the previous day or two should go out and check it. Just to make sure it is absolutely dead out. Those embers, those coals can sometimes linger for days and you don't want to be the one to cause of a wildfire," Manwell said.

The biggest cause of wildfires in Wisconsin is escaped debris, including trees and brush.

Dane County volunteers have started setting controlled fires in parts of the state, including a 40-acre burn Tuesday to help eliminate the possibility of a fire.

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