Rock County is first to implement burn ban

Dry weather causing several fire dangers

Dry weather conditions and recent fire dangers have led to a burn ban in Rock County.

Edgerton Fire Chief Brian Demrow said he and other Rock County fire chiefs implemented the ban in the hopes of preventing crews from doing any unnecessary work during the current dry spell.

This means no outdoor fires, unless they’re small, like a campfire, officials said.

“We’re just hoping we can stop some of (the fires) and prevent it,” Demrow said.

The Rock County fire departments don’t have the power to fine or cite people for disobeying the fire ban. Demrow said they’re really hoping people police themselves.

Rock County is the first county with a burn ban, but Demrow said he hopes other counties heed the warning.

The ban will be in effect until the county gets significant rainfall, he said.

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“The conditions are just too ripe to have a big problem here, and we just want to keep that from happening here,” Demrow said.

The dry spell is affecting Dane County as well, but fire chiefs have yet to issue a burn ban there.

“Our grass is gone. I watered my grass twice, but it didn’t look like it did anything. So, I just stopped watering it,” said Don Millikin, a camper at Hickory Hills Campground in Dane County.

Millikin was at the campsite for the weekend with his wife, Kris. She said she and her husband are taking proper precautions while camping.

“You got to have your campfire. You got to have your s’mores and stuff. We’re safe,” Kris Millikin said. “We’ve got our hose right here, and our water spigot is right around the corner. If (the fire) gets out of control, we can put it out real fast.”

The campground’s owner, Kelly Poff, said small fires in open areas are OK.

“If we go too much longer without any rain, we’ll probably have to say, ‘I’m sorry, but no fires,’ which will be kind of devastating for campers,” Poff said.

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