By Shereen Siewert

The risk of wildfires throughout central and northern Wisconsin, including the Wausau area, will remain high throughout the weekend, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

DNR officials urge the public to stay vigilant, especially in the northwest part of the state as we near the peak of fire season.

Eleven counties have “very high: fire risk on Friday. Marathon, Lincoln, Langlade and Portage are among the counties where fire danger is “high.”

Burning debris is the leading cause of Wisconsin’s wildfires. Forty percent of all wildfires in Wisconsin this year alone have been related to debris burning.

The DNR has responded to 556 wildfires burning more than 1,700 acres so far this season, plus many more suppressed by local fire departments and federal partners. Marathon County saw three wildfires in the past week alone.

Officials say residents should be extra careful with any outdoor flames, campfires, ash disposal or equipment use. Put off burning your debris pile until the vegetation “greens up.” Recent debris burns should be regularly checked for smoldering embers, as breezy conditions can cause fires to rekindle. 

Remember – fire danger and burning restrictions change every day.