Wisconsin DNR issues burn warnings, Vernon and Crawford counties under ‘high fire danger’

The warnings come as high winds rip across the La Crosse area

TOWN OF SHELBY (WKBT) – If you’re planning on burning or cooking anything this weekend, it probably isn’t a great idea.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is urging people to avoid burning through the weekend because of high winds.

According to its website, as of Friday, Vernon and Crawford counties are under a high fire danger. Most others are under a moderate risk.

“I live on the ridge,” Town of Shelby Fire Department Chief Tony Holinka said. “It is very windy up there right now.”

The winds have really picked up speed over the last couple of days.

When this happens, the risk of a wildfire goes up too.

“It is an area of concern that we’re keeping a very close eye on,” Holinka said.

Especially if you’re burning items or objects.

“People this time of year like to get their yards cleaned up,” Holinka said.

Just in the last week alone, the DNR says there have been nearly 60 wildfires.

“Conditions can change quickly at this time of year,” National Weather Service-La Crosse meteorologist Jeff Makowski said.

Pic Burn Warnings

The Wisconsin DNR says it is urging people to avoid burning due to high winds.

Makowski says grasses are dormant or dead.

“The vegetation just tends to be dry at this time of year,” Makowski said.

Makowski says the higher up you are, the gustier the winds.

But a wildfire can happen at anytime, especially when winds are strong and the air is dry.

“Until we get into that green-up late in the month or into May, the conditions would be favorable in terms of fire weather conditions,” Makowski said.

Holinka says the department has already responded to two wildfires this year, one of them on Grandad Bluff.

These events force firefighters to use extra resources.

“So it does cause a little bit of difficulties as far as a team of firefighters go,” Holinka said. “But it’s not something that we’re not used to or can’t handle.”

Holinka says if you have to burn something, let the fire department know.

“There’s nothing saying you can’t,” Holinka said. Just make sure that you have a water supply.”

Holinka says there aren’t any burn bans right now, but he does encourage you to not burn anything at this time.

The DNR says so far this year, 126 wildfires have burned more than 309 acres in Wisconsin.