This is Wildfire Prevention Week! Do you know where wildfires occur in Wisconsin? |

By Catherine Koele, DNR veldfire prevention specialist

That’s a fact – wildfires do happen in Wisconsin! Spring is veldfire season in the Great Lakes region, and the third week of April is designated as Wildfire Prevention Week (April 17-23, 2022). Visit the DNR’s Wildfire Dashboard to see real-time and historical wildfires in the areas where the DNR has forest fire protection responsibilities. They can happen more often and closer to your backyard than you think!

Each spring veld fire season is unique. Towards the end of winter, veldfire professionals begin to closely monitor snow depths, drought monitoring, current and predicted weather patterns and, equally important, fire occurrence and causal trends. In March 2021, veld fire season began early when the snow melted rapidly nationwide, with 204 fires burning 442 acres for the month. Fast forward to March of 2022 and note a very different situation with 59 fires burning 120 acres for the same time frame.

Despite the relatively slow start to this year’s fire season, fire incidence is definitely starting to increase. Historically, 60% of veld fires occur between March and May. Amid the busiest time for wildfires, take a closer look at emerging wildfires in Wisconsin’s DNR Protected Areas *, including burnt acres, structural involvement, causes, weather conditions, fire behavior, resources allocated and much more about the Fire Department’s wildfire view Dashboards.

Search through ten years of historical wildfire data. Toggle layers, zoom in on a geographic location, or set some specific dates. A handy feature is the pre-set deduction cards — users can apply numerous filters and see how the cards immediately do their magic.

The dashboard is a “live” ArcGIS mapping application powered by data supported by Wisconsin’s Individual Forest Fire Reporting System. This diverse tool is an interactive visual representation of fire statistics that allows the user to select, query and perform fire data for further analysis in formats compatible with other web mapping applications or ArcGIS Online (AGOL).

The mapping application also includes a Prescribed Fire Dashboard that shows preventative, planned and historical prescribed fires. Learn how applied fire forms in the DNR land and wildlife management objectives and the different vegetation communities that are restored with applied fire use. Users can see the details of any prescribed fire carried out on DNR land, including the time frame, geographical area or other relevant filters.

Knowing and understanding the robust complexities, risks, and benefits of the fire management program generates greater awareness of the ongoing mission to protect, enhance, and maintain Wisconsin’s valuable resources. Visit this DNR website to use the Fire Management control screens.

*Areas outside the boundaries of DNR protection areas are under the jurisdiction of the local municipality. Fire occurrence data will not be reflected in these cooperative areas on the dashboard unless a fire occurs on state land or the DNR provides mutual assistance.

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