For the City Times
It looks like spring has sprung around central Wisconsin, but as temperatures rise, so does the threat of wildfires.
In Wisconsin Rapids, Fire Chief David Kerkman says fire departments across Wood County are participating in “Keep the Forest Green,” a program designed to raise public awareness about the threat of wildfires.
According to Kerkman, “The program is set-up so we make people more aware of how to burn properly in regard to the spring of the year, and then the misuse of materials that actually lead to a structure fire from a wild land fire.”
Kerkman added that there could be a higher than normal risk of fires this spring, and that the DNR just upgraded the fire-danger level in the Wisconsin Rapids Fire Protection District to “High.” “From what I’ve had conversations with the DNR,” Kerkman said, “it looks like it could be a pretty significant season for wildfires. Just another reason why the public should be extremely careful. When you’re going to burn, knowing the regulations for your community before you burn, whether it’s in the city or in a township.” One of the biggest dangers with wildfires according to Kerkman, is that they often involve people’s homes. “We did have one last year that took a building and took numerous acres, so it’s something we’re always aware of.”
The Wisconsin Rapids Fire District includes southern Wood County, and all of Adams, Juneau, and Portage Counties. There have already been four wildfires just in Wood County alone so far this spring.