MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is encouraging Wisconsinites to enjoy the Fourth of July, but without the fireworks, this year.
The Great Lakes region of the U.S. is currently experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions. Fires will spread quickly and burn more intensely during a summer drought.
Fire danger levels are mostly moderate throughout Wisconsin but are expected to worsen in the coming days. There have been 50 wildfires in Wisconsin alone over the last week and the impacts of Canadian wildfires continue to impact the state.
According to the DNR, most wildfires caused by fireworks occur during the weeks leading up to and after the Fourth of July holiday or under extended drought conditions. It is why they also encourage everyone to keep fire safety in mind this upcoming holiday weekend.
Therefore, due to Wisconsin’s current conditions, the DNR recommends being especially cautious with fireworks and campfires, if they are used or held this upcoming holiday.
Fireworks are prohibited on DNR-managed lands and restricted areas include state parks, forests, and state-owned public hunting and fishing areas.
Take note that a citation for illegal fireworks in a state park or forest can cost up to $200.50. Violators, or parents of violators, could be responsible for the total costs of extinguishing a fire and up to twice the cost of damages.
Outside of DNR-managed lands, fireworks are restricted in Wisconsin and a permit may be required depending on the specific type of fireworks being used.
This holiday season, the Racine Fire Department is encouraging and advising people to leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals. The DNR suggests attending shows hosted in local communities if choosing to participate in a firework-related activity.
Take precautions to prevent wildfires this holiday season by avoiding exploding fireworks, such as firecrackers, m-70s, bottle rockets and Roman candles, which cause the most fireworks-related wildfires.
Sparklers and fountains are not defined as fireworks per state law, but they do pose a significant fire threat, particularly near grassy areas in hot and dry weather.
Not only can fireworks cause wildfires, but common causes of wildfires at this time of year include campfires and outdoor equipment such as off-road vehicles, chainsaws, lawnmowers, and farm equipment as well.
Anyone responsible for starting a wildfire in Wisconsin is liable for the cost of putting the fire out and potentially any damages says the DNR.
If using fire outdoors
- Know the daily fire danger level.
- It can change daily and vary throughout the state.
- Obtain the proper permits.
- If choosing to interact with fire, choose a safe area.
- Choose a place free of flammable materials, such as gravel or concrete.
- Have water and extinguishing tools ready and easily accessible.
- Make sure fireworks are entirely out and cold before leaving.
- If you start a wildfire, dial 911 immediately to allow professionals to respond to the fire quickly.
Learn more about the air quality
4th of July
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