As snow cover lessens, fire danger increases. The DNR has designated this week as “Wildfire Prevention Week” to mark the upcoming anniversary of the Germann Road Fire that burned more that 7000 acres in Douglas County last May.
Wildfire Prevention specialist Catherine Koele says the highest risk for fire comes after the snow melts and before things green up.
“It’s kind of a misconception that just because we had snow on the ground last week that things don’t burn. And it’s quite the contrary. It’s when that vegetation is dead and dry and we have those dry windy days that makes it just a bad combination for fires.”
Officials are urging those burning yard waste to make sure their fires are completely out, in addition to having the proper permits.
And Koele says all homeowners can take steps to protect their houses from stray embers or a spreading fire.
“The key is to focus on that 100-200 feet around the house. Simple things like moving a stack of firewood, raking leaves and pine needles away from the house, cleaning out your gutters – focusing on the little things. It’s really that kindling around the home that can take the home down.”
This year there have been 150 wildfires throughout the state, which have burned almost 1200 acres in DNR Protection Areas.