GREEN BAY, Wis. (WTAQ) - In a normal year, folks near Lake Superior still get lake effect snow at the end of March. But this year, it’s dry as a bone – and the wildfire season has arrived a month early. Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prairie had predicted an early spring, and he wasn’t kidding. Jay Gallagher of the state DNR in Brule said his region in Douglas and Bayfield counties only got 0.03 inches of rain this month. And it all fell last Saturday.
Rhinelander and Green Bay will have no snow in March for the first time since 1973. Authorities in northern Minnesota say they’re already getting wildfires. And things could get a lot worse Tuesday and Wednesday. Far northern Wisconsin expects strong, southerly winds and highs above 70 degrees in many places. The fire danger remains high statewide. And Gallagher says the DNR is setting up airplanes to help with the expected grass and brush fires.
The state has stopped issuing burning permits in 17 northern counties as far south as Medford and Antigo. The National Weather Service says the next chance of rain is on Good Friday in west central Wisconsin. And thunderstorms could spread into southern Wisconsin by Saturday.