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Despite cut in wildfire risk, emergency burning restrictions still in effect in NW Wisconsin

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A sign indicating fire danger is very high.
A sign indicating fire danger is very high.

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Outdoor smoking and other burning activities are still banned in much of far northwest Wisconsin, despite the fact that rain and colder temperatures have reduced the risk for wildfires.

But the state DNR says the emergency burning restrictions will continue in parts of Burnett, Polk, Washburn, and Douglas counties. That’s where thousands of acres of timber fell during a windstorm last July – and much of it is still on the ground.

Forest ranger Rebecca Mouw of Mining said there’s still too much timber on the ground to risk the chance of any fire escaping and causing a wildfire.

The DNR says the burning ban will continue until vegetation greens improve. When oak trees have their leaves filled, officials say it’s a sign that the annual spring fire season is ending.

The National Weather Service says a dry weekend is expected in the north, but rain is expected to move into central and southern Wisconsin late Friday night and Saturday. Central areas could see some snow mixed in. 

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