Wisconsin wildfires may not be as newsworthy as mass blazes in Canada or the Western U.S., but it can cause economic and environmental damage where you call home.
Unfortunately, Wisconsin sees its own share of increases in wildfires when we experience a dry spring and summer. Wisconsin DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele says usually Wisconsin’s peak wildfire season ends over Memorial Day weekend but when in an ongoing drought, a simple spark has the potential to char significant acreage.
People start 98% of wildfires. However, drought, warm temperatures, low relative humidity, and wind are a recipe for high fire danger.
Tips to prevent fire on farms
- Keep an eye on the changing fire danger
- If there is high fire danger, avoid all outdoor burning until conditions improve.
- Operate equipment early in the morning or late in the day to avoid sparks at peak burn hours. This includes wood cutting, lawn mowing, farming, recreational vehicles, parking hot exhaust systems on dry grass, etc.
- Be on the look out for fire hazards such as broken light fixtures, exposed electrical wires, loose outlets, wet hay, clutter of flammable materials and obstructed exit pathways.
- Secure dragging trailer chains on your equipment, campers, boats, etc.
- Delay campfires until the evening hours as fire conditions tend to improve; make sure they are completely extinguished before leaving them unattended.
- Report fires early, dial 911
Where there’s fire, there’s smoke
Wisconsin can experience air advisories because of the polluting particles that come with the haze from foreign wildfires, says Craig Czarnecki, Outreach Coordinator with the Wisconsin DNR’s Air Management Program. As long as wildfires burn in Canada or out West, Wisconsin’s air quality has the potential to become hazardous.
Tips to protect yourself from poor air quality
- Sensitive groups — people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, those who are pregnant, and those who work outdoors — should consider moving all events inside
- Close windows and doors
- Run air conditioning on recirculate.
- Use an indoor air purifier
- Check air quality conditions before leaving the house and throughout the day
- Avoid or limit exercising outdoors
- Check current air quality conditions
As Wisconsin’s number 1 farm insurer, it’s our job to understand the risks farmers face so we can help prevent them. A fire is a devastating loss. Talk with your local Rural Mutual agent about fire safety resources and other ways we can help you protect your farm.