High winds, low humidity, and higher temperatures lead to a weekend of critical fire weather conditions and a Red Flag Warning in 12 central Wisconsin counties.
The danger continues through Monday with High to Very High fire danger across the state.
To help keep Wisconsinites safe, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources asked the public to reduce outdoor burning, including limiting the use of outdoor grills and campfires. The DNR responded to 26 small wildfires over the weekend.
Although some scattered chances of rain are in the forecast, with cooler temperatures and less wind, the precipitation is expected to be very minimal and is not likely to improve the overall fire situation. Fuel conditions such as trees, shrubs and grasses are very dry.
Officials are urging residents to continue to take extra precautions as a dry stretch of weather remains.
The northern half of the state is entering a critical time for catastrophic fire, especially in sandy soil and pine areas. Fires in these locations are starting to see increased fire behavior, resulting in fire moving from the surface to the crowns of the trees, making fire suppression more challenging. The greening of vegetation is progressing in the southern part of the state that is lessening the fire risk.
Burning remains suspended with DNR-issued burning permits for debris piles, barrels and grass or wooded areas.
State officials are also asking the public again to be especially careful with any activities that could potentially lead to a wildland fire such as campfires, ashes from fireplaces, outdoor grills, smoking, chainsaws, off-road vehicles or other small engines have the potential to throw sparks. Use extreme caution until the fire weather improves.
Fire control officials urge the public not to become complacent as Wisconsin enters the peak of wildfire season over the next couple weeks. The DNR will be on high alert across the entire state this week, pre-positioning equipment for rapid response.
The DNR has four contract tanker planes and access to the Wisconsin Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopters with bucket capability.
Continue to monitor the current situation here.