Even though we are still knee deep in snow, a couple weeks of warm weather can drop that down to nothing and again we will see our lawns and those leaves from last fall that we just didn’t quite get to. Now that we are in spring, here are some reminders to help safe reduce the threat of forest fires:
Instead of burning, the Department of Natural Resources recommends the following alternatives:
• Recycle newspaper, office paper, cardboard, corrugated cardboard, and magazines.
• Compost leaves and plant clippings. Chip brush and clean wood to make mulch or decorative chips, or use it as heating fuel in wood stoves or boilers.
• Dispose of allowable waste materials at a licensed landfill. For more information about what items may be disposed of at licensed landfills, contact the Recycling Program at your DNR regional office or service center.
Residential burning and burning permits
• Be considerate of your neighbors, their safety and their property.
• If you have a large brush pile that you intend to burn, do so when there are still several inches of snow on the ground.
• If there is not at least one inch of snow covering your local area, check to see if you need a burning permit and follow the restrictions.
• Burn regulations explain what can be burned (year round, with or without snow cover), when it can be burned and the size of the pile you can burn at once. Your permit also explains that you need attend your fire at all times and to completely extinguish it prior to leaving it.
• Be sure to have a signed (and current) burn permit. Check the burning restrictions at (888) WIS-BURN (1-888-947-2876) every day that you plan to burn to make sure you are following the daily restriction.
Reminder to contractors:
• Special permits will be inspected when deemed necessary, as fire conditions and as local work load allows.
• If you will be burning brush, it must be at the location that the brush was generated; it cannot be hauled to another location to be burned unless it is has an approved license from the Waste and Materials Management Program to operate as a “woodburning facility.”
Reminders for those who burn wood to heat their homes:
• When disposing of the ashes from your wood stove or fireplace, be sure there is no heat left in them and be sure that you deposit them in an area that will not begin to burn and cause a forest fire.
If any fire that you start results in a forest fire, you can be issued a citation for any violations of the law, held responsible for expenses related to the suppression of the fire, and/or held responsible for damages that result from the fire.
If you have any questions about burning regulations, want additional information about alternatives to burning yard waste, or other related topics contact your local DNR ranger station, DNR service center or emergency fire wardens that are located in your community.
To report non-emergency violations it is advisable to first contact your local DNR office, or your local police or sheriff’s department non-emergency number. If you do not speak to a person from your local DNR office you can also try (800) TIP-WDNR (1-800-847-9367) or cell #367. For emergencies call 911 and provide the location of the fire, and describe any imminent threats to safety or property.