DNR: Local Fire Wardens Being Phased Out

Jan 10, 2018

Credit Wisconsin DNR

Going to your local corner convenience store to get a burning permit is a relic of history according to according to a DNR policy change starting this year.

No longer are there local “fire wardens” according to Katherine Koele, DNR forest fire prevention specialist. “We looked at the number of fires over the past several years and most were caused by persons who did not have a burning permit and those that did have a permit but failed to follow the rules for burning,” she said.

In Vilas County for 2018 there will be only five places a person can get a burning permit in-person and by 2020 Koele  said there would only be three places. Permits can be obtained via the DNR web site or by calling the DNR call center between 7 am and 10 pm at 888-936-7463.

A number of local convenience  stores said they were disappointed not being able to issue permits as a public service, especially for summer home owners who may want one on a weekend. They added that in many places in the North broadband service is limited. Koele  said there were three circumstances when a permit is not needed: when there is snow cover or  using a fire to warm or cook. But in any circumstance if a fire you set gets away, the person who lit it is responsible for damage and suppression  costs even if they had a permit or not.