Wisconsin DNR: Winter prescribed burns to begin Feb. 1

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced on Monday, Jan. 31 that starting Tuesday, Feb. 1, fire management crews will conduct prescribed burns on DNR properties throughout the state. 

The first prescribed burns of the season will be held Feb. 1 at Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area in southeast Wisconsin.

A news release says forecasted weather conditions indicate optimal conditions for the burns, which help reduce the chance for wildfires by removing excess dead plant material. Prescribed burns also support healthy ecosystems for an abundance of plants and animals in Wisconsin.

The DNR’s fire management crews plan to burn cattail marshes, clearing buildup of dead vegetation and opening waterways for waterfowl to feed and nest. By burning in winter, DNR staff take advantage of wet conditions and frozen ground, which reduces the heat and intensity of cattail marsh burns.  

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Winter cattail marsh burns also mark the beginning of the fire management season for DNR crews. Additional windows of opportunity for prescribed burning will continue through spring, and open again in late summer and fall (mid-July through November).

For this year, all burns conducted on DNR land will continue to follow additional COVID-19 operational protocols to further minimize health and safety risks to burn crews and the general public. 

When conducting prescribed burns near roads or recreational trails, the DNR will post signs on the morning of the burn to notify the public. For public safety, please avoid these areas while the burn is being conducted.

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To view the current daily status of where prescribed burns are occurring across the state, visit the DNR WisBURN page, click "View Current Fires," and show "Today’s Prescribed Burns." 

For a more detailed look at historic, current and planned DNR prescribed burns, visit the DNR Prescribed Fire Dashboard.

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