Wisconsin DNR photo

KAUKAUNA — Kaukauna does not currently have a fire pit burning ban in place, however with wildfire risks elevated statewide, Gov. Tony Evers today declared a state of emergency.

In a Facebook post Sunday, the Kaukauna Fire Department said no ban currently is in place, but reinforced current guidelines:

  • The size of the fire pit must not exceed 4-feet-by-4-feet-by-3-feet high.
  • The fire pit suggested minimum distance4 from any combustible is 25 feet, with a minimum of 10 feet from any lot line.
  • Fire pits must be attended at all times.
  • A fire extinguisher or hose must be accessible at all times while burning.
  • If the wind speed is greater the 10 m.p.h., all burning is prohibited in the city of Kaukauna.
  • Upon completion of burning, the fire must be completely extinguished.

The fire department said that could change depending on conditions, as concern over wildfires grows statewide.

Gov. Tony Evers today signed Executive Order #110 declaring a State of Emergency in response to elevated wildfire conditions throughout our state.

“With nearly the entire state experiencing high or very high fire risk, protecting Wisconsinites from the destructive dangers of wildfires is a top priority,” Gov. Evers said in a news release. “The ability of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to have all available resources ready to be quickly dispatched is a critical element in keeping fires small and achieving swift containment.”

The DNR has requested wildfire suppression support from the Wisconsin National Guard due to elevated fire danger across the state. The benefit of the Executive Order will support challenges associated with ongoing statewide wildfire danger and widespread need to enhance suppression capability and protect Wisconsinites.

There have already been more than 320 wildfires reported in Wisconsin so far this year, burning over 1,400 acres. Fire officials anticipate a slightly longer than average fire season due to early snow melting around the state.

The Executive Order from the governor will assist the state in rapidly mobilizing the Army National Guard’s Blackhawk helicopters to the areas of the state in most need of aerial fire suppression resources during the critical spring fire season; this critical period in Wisconsin generally lasts through the month of May.

Wisconsin is heavily invested in achieving quick initial attack to mitigate the potential for large fire development. The National Weather Service indicates weather conditions conducive to wildfires are possible, including gusty winds, low relative humidity and dry fuels.

Executive Order #110 will also direct all state agencies of the state of Wisconsin to assist as appropriate in wildfire prevention, response and recovery efforts.

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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, born and raised in Kaukauna, is cofounder of Kaukauna Community News.