Fire danger very high across Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – The Department of Natural Resources is asking the public to stay vigilant and avoid burning because of very high fire danger across Wisconsin, particularly in the northern two-thirds of the state.
The increased fire danger is due to the low relative humidity expected across the state, with the lowest values expected across northern Wisconsin. Temperatures will be warm and the air over Wisconsin will be dry, which are weather conditions that aid in the spread of fires.
Areas with VERY HIGH danger today include Adams, Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Brown, Burnett, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Door, Douglas, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Forest, Florence, Green Lake, Iron Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Monroe, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Portage, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Sheboygan, Taylor, Vilas, Washburn, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood counties.
Areas with HIGH fire danger today include Buffalo, Dunn, La Crosse, Pepin, Pierce, St. Croix and Trempealeau counties.
There is MODERATE fire danger in Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Lafayette, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Vernon, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.
It was 30 years ago today that under similar conditions that the Germann Road Fire  – one of the largest wildfires in Wisconsin – consumed 7,499 acres and destroyed 104 structures (23 of them residences) in the Towns of Gordon and Highland in Douglas County and the Town of Barnes in Bayfield County.
Although the Germann Road Fire was started unintentionally from a logging crew harvesting timber on industrial timber lands, burning debris is the leading cause of Wisconsin’s wildfires. Forty percent of all wildfires in Wisconsin this year alone have been related to debris burning.
The DNR has responded to 611 wildfires burning more than 1,700 acres so far this year, plus many more suppressed by local fire departments and federal partners – 53 of those fires occurred last week alone.
Be extra careful with any outdoor flames, campfires, ash disposal or equipment use. Please check any recent debris burns for smoldering embers, as breezy conditions can cause fires to rekindle.
Be fire smart. Remember – fire danger and burning restrictions change every day.

FIRE SAFETY TIPS
* Check before you burn; burn permits for debris burning will likely be suspended in several counties over the coming days until conditions improve.
* Operate equipment (chainsaws, off-road vehicles, lawn mowers, etc.) early in the morning or late in the day to avoid sparks at peak burn hours.
* Secure dragging trailer chains.
* Delay having campfires until the evening hours as fire conditions tend to improve; keep them small and contained.
* Report fires early, dial 911.
* Check daily fire danger, wildfire reports and burning restrictions at bit.ly/WiFireDanger.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Find your adventure during Free Fun Weekend

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hosting its 9th annual Free Fun Weekend June 5-6.
Park admission fees, fishing licenses and trail passes will be waived for Wisconsinites to find their adventure outdoors.
"We truly have something special here in Wisconsin, especially when it comes to outdoor recreation opportunities," said DNR Secretary Preston Cole. “Explore a state park, hit the trails or try your hand at fishing. There’s no better time to get out and explore what Wisconsin’s outdoors has to offer."
Wisconsin is home to 49 state parks, 15 state forests, 44 state trails, 84,000 miles of rivers and streams, roughly 15,000 lakes and so much more.
Before heading to a state park, trail or waterbody near you, here are some helpful things to know:

STATE PARKS
* Admission stickers will not be required.
* All state parks will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
* Drive-up windows, playgrounds, bathrooms and observation towers are open.
* Stand-alone concession facilities are open to the public at 50% capacity.
* Office buildings, visitor centers, enclosed shelters and nature centers remain closed until further notice.
* Adaptive rental equipment at state park properties is unavailable until further notice.
* Due to high demand during peak seasons, some properties may reach their pre-determined capacity limits. When this happens, properties will close until existing visitors leave, and capacity is reduced.

TRAILS
* Trail passes will not be required for both residents and non-residents.
* All linear/rail trails will be open to the public, including ATV trails and horseback riding trails.

FISHING
* Residents and non-residents will not be required to have a fishing license or trout/salmon stamps.
* All 2021-2022 fishing regulations apply, including bag and length limits.
* Due to COVID-19 precautions, loaner equipment will not be available. Anglers should bring their own equipment and bait.
* Events such as fishing clinics have been canceled.
* Locate launches and shorefishing access points near you.

BOAT LAUNCHES
* All DNR boat launches are open.
* Boats must be registered, which can be done either online or via mail.
* Minimize the spread of aquatic invasive species by removing plants and animals from boats before and after launching, draining all water from compartments, and never move live fish from any waterbody.

SAFETY
* Wear a life jacket at all times when fishing from a boat, kayak, canoe or paddleboard.
* Use boat lights after sunset.
* Never consume alcohol or drugs before or during an ATV ride or while operating a boat.
* Wear a helmet and protective clothing such as eye protection, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt while ring an ATV.
* All children under the age of 18 must have a minimum Department of Transportation standard motorcycle or ATV helmet - bicycle helmets are not legal.
* Keep your speed in mind as weather and terrain conditions vary or change.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Campers, off-road riders beware of very high fire danger

Very high fire danger persists in Minnesota. Spring outdoor recreation activity is increasing, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges outdoor enthusiasts to limit the use of campfires and use caution with off-road vehicles that could spark and start a wildfire.
Northern Minnesota counties remain under open burning restrictions. Minnesota’s wildland fire management agencies report nearly 900 wildland fires have burned more than 32,000 acres since the beginning of March.
The majority of the wildfire activity has occurred in the driest area of the state, the northwest corner.
This includes the Oxcart Fire, which burned approximately 13,000 acres on and around portions of the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge near Mentor, making it Minnesota’s largest wildfire in nearly a decade, and the Goods Fire, which scorched more than 5,500 acres near Red Lake last week.
Northeast counties have experienced their share of spring fire activity. To date, 225 wildfires have been reported this spring across northeastern Minnesota and in every county except Cook County. The majority of these fires have been human caused.
Depending on the area, drought, dry conditions and/or continued sub-freezing temperatures are delaying spring green-up, and until it arrives, wildfire danger will continue.

Campfire tips to prevent wildfires
* Never leave a campfire unattended.
* Keep the fire within a fire ring and clear all flammable materials within 5 feet of the fire.
* Before leaving, make sure the fire is completely out: drown with water, stir and repeat until embers are cold.

Off-road riding tips to prevent wildfires
* Don’t park recreational vehicles, cars or trucks on dry vegetation.
* Use an approved spark arrester on all internal combustion powered equipment.
Visit the DNR website more information and daily updates on current fire risk and open burning restrictions.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation celebrates 37th birthday

MISSOULA, Mont. - May 14th is a monumental day in conservation.
On this date in 1984, four elk hunters in northwest Montana officially founded the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.
“Our founders and their families had a vision and sacrificed much to establish this conservation movement that has made and continues to make tremendous positive impacts on elk, wildlife habitat, hunting and conservation,” said Mark Baker, RMEF Board of Directors’ chair.
“While we pause for a moment to recognize past accomplishments and honor those who got us to where we are today, we look to the horizon to further our mission by continuing to evolve and improve as an organization,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “And we invite all to join us.”
RMEF Lifetime Conservation Accomplishments:
* Protected or enhanced more than 8.1 million acres of habitat.
* Opened or improved access to more than 1.3 million acres of land.
* 13,000 conservation & hunting heritage outreach projects.
* Helped successfully restore elk to their historic range in Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.
* More than 231,000 members & 500+ chapters.
* A volunteer force of 11,000 that raises funding placed back on the ground.
* Generated millions for wildlife research.
* Helped North American elk population grow from 550,000 in 1984 to more than one million today.
Founded 37 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 231,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 8.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife.
RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

SOURCE: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
 

Wisconsin NRB virtual meeting scheduled May 26

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will meet virtually for the May board meeting to consider several proposed rules, hearings, management and master plans, land items and donations.
The Board also will receive an information update on Chronic Wasting Disease.
The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26, originating from Public Meeting Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison, Wisconsin. The Board will act on items 1-4 and 7-8 as listed on the Agenda at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/About/NRB/2021/25-May.
Although the public will not be allowed to attend the meeting in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the public can watch the May board meeting on the DNR’s YouTube channel.
The deadline for remote public appearance requests and written comments is 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 19.
The Board will be considering:
* Department recommendations for Board Order AM-20-18, proposed rules affecting chapters NR 400, 419, 421, 422, 423, 425, 439, and 484, related to implementing reasonably available control technology (RACT) to limit volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from miscellaneous metal and plastic parts coatings and miscellaneous industrial adhesives.
* 2021-2031 Elk Management Plan, rule and 2021 season quotas.
* Statement of Scope for Emergency Board Order FH-29-20(E) and Board Order FH-30-20 and conditionally approve the public hearing notice for FH-30-20 and notice of submittal of proposed rules to the Legislative Council Rules Clearinghouse, for proposed rules affecting chapter NR 20 related to lake trout season and harvest in Lake Michigan.
* Statement of Scope for Board Order FH-16-20 and conditionally approve the public hearing notice and notice of submittal of proposed rules to the Legislative Council Rules Clearinghouse, for proposed rules affecting chapters NR 25 related to reorganizing commercial fishing and wholesale fish dealer regulations.
* Request that the Board authorize a preliminary public hearing and comment period for the Statement of Scope for Board Order DG-25-20, for proposed rules affecting chapter NR 140 related to setting numerical standards to minimize the concentration of polluting substances in groundwater.
* Sturgeon Management Plan.
* Blue Mound State Park Master Plan.
The complete May NRB meeting agenda is available on the DNR website at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/About/NRB/2021/25-May.
In addition to being encouraged to watch the upcoming May meeting, there are opportunities for the public to testify and to submit written comment about issues that come before the NRB. More information regarding public participation at Board meetings is available at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/about/NRB/public.html.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


DNR seeking comment for Wausau safe drinking water project

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said the City of Wausau is an applicant for funding through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) to address deficiencies in its public drinking water system.
The project includes the replacement of lead service lines throughout the City of Wausau.
Activities related to this project are minor actions under Chapter NR 150, Wis. Admin. Code, for which no environmental analysis is required. However, following the SDWLP federal requirement 40 C.F.R. §35.3580, an environmental review must be conducted before funding this project.
The SDWLP has determined that the project will not result in significant adverse environmental effects, and no further environmental review or analysis is needed before proceeding with funding the project.
The public is encouraged to submit comments regarding this decision and the potential environmental impacts of this project. Submit comments by May 28, 2021 to:
Department of Natural Resources
C/O Kevin Olson, Community Financial Assistance, CF/2
101 S Webster St.
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707
Phone: 608-234-2238 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Based on the comments received, the SDWLP may prepare an environmental analysis before proceeding with the funding process. The analysis would summarize the DNR’s consideration of the project's impacts and reasonable alternatives.
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR urges comment for Waterloo safe drinking water program

MADISON, Wis. – The City of Waterloo is an applicant for funding through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) to address deficiencies in its public drinking water system, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The project includes the replacement of lead service lines throughout the City of Waterloo.
Activities related to this project are minor actions under Chapter NR 150, Wis. Admin. Code, for which no environmental analysis is required. However, following the SDWLP federal requirement 40 C.F.R. §35.3580, an environmental review must be conducted before funding this project.
The SDWLP has determined that the project will not result in significant adverse environmental effects, and no further environmental review or analysis is needed before proceeding with funding the project.
The public is encouraged to submit comments regarding this decision and the potential environmental impacts of this project. Submit comments by May 26, 2021 to:
Department of Natural Resources
C/O Kevin Olson, Community Financial Assistance, CF/2
101 S. Webster St. P.O. Box 7921 Madison, WI 53707
Phone: 608-234-2238 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Based on the comments received, the SDWLP may prepare an environmental analysis before proceeding with the funding process. The analysis would summarize the DNR’s consideration of the project's impacts and reasonable alternatives.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR