More than 300 wildfires have destroyed nearly 1,500 acres since the start of the year, and firefighters warned this could be a season longer than average.
Wisconsin’s Tony Evers government on Monday signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in response to rising wildfires, underscoring efforts across the state to curb the already burning fires. Nearly 1,500 acres this year.
An executive order allows government agencies to assist in forest fire prevention, response and restoration.
It is also sponsored by the Wisconsin National Guard, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
“Since almost the entire state is exposed to high or very high fire risk, protecting Wisconsin from wildfire hazards is a top priority,” said Avers in a press release.
In the past week, 149 wildfires have occurred across Wisconsin, according to a map on the department’s website, and at least 340 have been fired since the start of the year.
Over the weekend, much of Wisconsin was at very high risk for fire hazards, including counties along the Illinois border and Lake Michigan counties. Wildfire conditions across the state will persist as long as there is a mix of dry vegetation, improperly warm temperatures, low humidity and increased winds.
Permits to burn litter, bins and grass were suspended last week and fire officials advised residents to avoid all outdoor burns, including camp fires and to properly extinguish cigarettes.
While wildfires can happen at any time of the year, the department says most of the fires occur between March and May, making spring the most critical fire season in Wisconsin.
With how quickly the snow melts, fire fighters expect a longer-than-average fire season this year.
Wisconsin has seen its share of devastating wildfires over the past 20 years.In 2013, a logging team accidentally started a fire that destroyed nearly 7,500 acres, including 23 homes, in 2005. 3,410 acres of fire and destroyed at least 30 homes.