MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Wisconsin's first widespread risk of potentially severe fire weather of 2014 is predicted for Tuesday, April 8th through Thursday, April 10th as strong winds blow over the dry terrain of the west and south central counties, threatening to reignite smoldering embers from spring debris burns.
"We have the ingredients for fire weather," Department of Natural Resources Wildland Fire Specialist Catherine Koele said. "Those ingredients are sustained winds with even stronger gusts, low humidity and warm temperatures. It's also called spring."
The National Weather Service forecast predicts temperatures in the mid 60s with 20 to 25 percent relative humidity for Tuesday into Thursday. A cold front toting rain showers is expected to pass through the region on Friday.
"What makes this weather forecast of the greatest concern to fire specialists is the wind," Koele said. "The winds are predicted to be between 15 and 25 miles per hour. The gusts could go as high at 30."
In light of the forecast, the DNR will suspend burning permits in some west and south central counties. Also, look for the Smokey Bear fire danger signs to read "High" to "Very High." Residents are strongly advised to check with the local authorities for additional burning restrictions.
Check for fire conditions and burn permit restrictions daily at this DNR site: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/restrictions.asp
Koele also said the timing of this fire threat comes on the heels of the annual yard and property cleanup many landowners complete in the spring. This often includes the common practice of burning a debris pile of leaves, brush and pine needles.
"Debris burning remains Wisconsin's top cause of wildfires," Koele said. "These fire conditions can easily rekindle smoldering embers. We strongly urge anyone who has conducted a debris pile in recent days to please return to that area and to make sure that fire is out."
To learn more about how to keep yourself and your home safe, please visit this DNR website: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/forestfire/BeEmberAware.html
Spring is Wisconsin's most active wildland fire season. So far in 2014, there have been 61 wildland fires which have burned 227 acres.
On Tuesday, April 8th, officials in Fond du Lac unveiled a special ATV equipped with a hose and water tank that will be used to fight fires in fields a fire engine cannot access.
"We`re trying to do everything we can to prevent an injury and give our firefighters the proper tools to do the proper job," Fond du Lac Assistant Fire Chief Steve Beer said.