Dry weather raises concerns about fires

Wisconsin counties at high risk for forest fires
Dry weather raises concerns about fires

With the hot, dry weather, the state Department of Natural Resources said it’s concerned about the dangers of outdoor fires, the area water supply and heat-related injuries.

According to the DNR, 13 counties in southern Wisconsin are at a “high risk” for forest fires.

“Normally, this might be weather that we’d expect maybe in August. We’re concerned about camp fires, barbeque grills — how (people) dispose of their ashes,” said John Nielson, regional forestry director for the Department of Natural Resources.

Nielson and his staff are scrambling, with some even canceling vacations, because of the fire risks and the need to be on call to fight them.

Nielson said heat exhaustion and heat stroke are also very real concerns.

The Madison Fire Department is very mindful of the heat as well, making sure firefighters are well hydrated and rotated out while on calls to prevent heat-related injuries.

“The turnout gear that our firefighters wear is sort of a micro-climate, and it heats up in there very, very quickly,” said Lori Wirth, spokeswoman for Madison Fire Department.

While fire crews are concerned about protecting their responders, there is also a focus on fire prevention.


“Most of our forest fires are human-caused fires, so if people are careful, we can prevent forest fires under these types of conditions,” Nielson said.