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DNR officials respond to several wildfires in recent days, urge alternatives to burning

MADISON – With fire danger currently elevated in Wisconsin, it’s even more important that people consider recycling and composting instead of burning waste and yard debris, which Department of Natural Resource officials caution may cause wildfires and add pollutants to the air.

“Wildfire season is here and it’s not a good time to be burning outdoors. Just yesterday, we had a 200 acre wildfire and evacuated 44 homes,” says Catherine Koele, DNR wildfire prevention specialist.

“Luckily, no one lost their home and no one was injured, but it was a good reminder to consider alternatives to burning, especially right now with the current fire threat.”

A 200-plus acre wildland fire west of the village of Necedah in Juneau County required the evacuation of 44 homes on Monday.

Though it is legal to burn some yard waste in certain areas, the department cautions that debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires in Wisconsin, causing about 30 percent of the state’s wildfires each year.

“Open burning of any material produces a variety of air pollutants.

Burning plastics or treated or painted wood can release carcinogens such as arsenic, benzene and formaldehyde into the air,” said Brad Wolbert, DNR recycling and solid waste section chief. “Children, older adults and people with cardiac disease and respiratory ailments, such as asthma, are generally more sensitive to smoke from burning garbage.

Burning anything can affect your health, your neighbors’ health and the environment.”

Burning household trash in Wisconsin is illegal. A study by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency found that 15 households burning trash each day emits the same amount of cancer-causing dioxin and furan emissions as a 200-ton-per-day municipal waste incinerator that uses high-efficiency emissions control technology.

It is also illegal to burn recyclable materials such as glass, plastic, metal containers and clean paper, as well as agricultural and horticultural plastics such as silage film, haylage bags, bale wrap, woven tarps and nursery pots and trays. If these materials cannot be recycled, they should go to a landfill.

“Every community in Wisconsin has a recycling program for plastic, glass and metal containers, and paper,” Wolbert said, “For yard debris, composting is a good option.”

Composting and recycling are the preferred alternatives to burning – search “open burning” on the WDNR web site http://dnr.wi.gov for more information and alternatives.

If burning is the only option for yard waste, burning permits may be required to burn yard debris piles or for broadcast burning any time the ground is not completely snow-covered. In DNR Protection Areas, permit holders are authorized to burn vegetative materials, such as leaves, brush and pine needles. Permits are designed so that burning is done safely with minimal wildfire risk.

Customers can obtain DNR permits online or by calling 1-888-WIS-BURN from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. They may also visit their local ranger station or emergency fire warden to receive permits. Once an individual has a burning permit, he or she must call or go online after 11 a.m. on the day of the planned burn to check daily fire restrictions.

“Currently, much of the state is under high to very high fire danger. Several counties have suspended DNR burning permits due to low humidity and windy conditions,” says Koele. “It’s just not a good idea to be burning anything right now.”

For more information on burning permits and the current fire danger in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “fire.” To learn more about ways to handle waste materials, search “waste” on the DNR website. Information on recycling of agricultural pesticide containers is available at http://www.acrecycle.org (exit DNR).

READ MORE HERE  http://dnr.wi.gov/news/Weekly/Article/?id=3264#contactLoc

Brad Wolbert – (608) 264-6286
Catherine Koele – Wildfire Prevention Specialist – (715) 356-5211 x208 or (608) 219-9075



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Results for POLL S913

To simplify regulations and the licensing process, do you support establishing a single hunting and fishing stamp?

Results of DSORe POLL S912

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Would you support legislation to authorize banning deer baiting and feeding statewide 10 days before and during the 9-day gun deer season?

Take the POLL: VOTE!
Ban Baiting / Feeding: Deer 10 days before + during season …?

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The Question: “Would you support legislation to authorize banning deer baiting and feeding statewide 10 days before and during the 9-day gun deer season?”WHAT do YOU think of this?


photo c. CNBnews.net © 2011 Gary Devine

Restrict deer baiting and feeding ten days before and during the traditional nine-day firearm season


Question 34 in the Spring Fish & Wildlife Hearings Questionnaire reads:
We have heard hunters say that feeding and baiting affects deer distribution and natural daytime movement. When deer need to move less to find food, and are concentrated in areas where access and/or hunting are restricted, the quality of the hunt is reduced. For the department, this can make managing the herd more difficult and contribute to the debate about the accuracy of deer numbers.

In 2006 and 2008, Conservation Congress spring meeting attendees voted in favor of banning baiting for deer hunting by 56% and 54%. Another question in 2006, which proposed banning both baiting and feeding just 10 days prior to and during the traditional 9-day firearm season, had a greater level of support with 62% voting in favor. This same question was asked in 2011, and had roughly the same level of support, 63%. These votes have not led to changes, other than banning baiting and feeding of deer in counties or adjacent counties where deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Currently, baiting and feeding of deer is prohibited in 35 counties because of their close proximity to CWD-positive deer. Banning baiting and feeding of deer in counties where it is currently allowed may encourage deer movement during shooting hours and result in a more even distribution of deer available to hunters on both public and private lands.

Baiting and feeding would still be allowed at other times of the year. This compromise would still allow those who believe they need to hunt with bait to do so during most of the archery and some firearm seasons. This compromise is not ideal for reducing disease transmission risks associated with baiting and feeding; however, it would result in less deer feed being placed on the landscape at a time of the year when much food is currently placed. The DNR is not able to modify deer baiting and feeding regulations by administrative rule, except for adding counties where it is banned because of CWD positive deer. Otherwise, changes to deer baiting and feeding regulations must be made in state statute by the legislature.


NEXT WEEK: Results for POLL S914
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