PESHTIGO - The moment you walk through the door into the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ranger station in Oconto Falls, your ears are met with the loud sounds of radio traffic.
"It's the time of day that things are going to start picking up," explained Ranger Ryan Severson, an 11-year forest service veteran.
Not much later a voice on the radio summons Severson.
"Oconto Falls? Peshtigo," asks the radio dispatcher.
"Go ahead," says Severson.
"Could you have (unintelligible) with Oconto Falls (Fire Truck) 1 head towards Highway 41 (unintelligible) and the truck stop?" asks the dispatcher.
"Copy, he'll be in service," says Severson as the door to the station slams shut and a diesel truck engine starts and drives off.
While it may not seem like much, it is a scene that is happening all across the state.
DNR Forest Rangers like Severson and Chris Duncan are ready and waiting if - more likely when - a wildfire sparks up.
Now on the scene of a brush fire west of Peshtigo, crews from two DNR ranger stations, the Grover-Porterfield Fire Department and Town of Peshtigo Fire Department are working together to contain the fire in high winds.
All hands are on deck. A spotter plane is relaying information to firefighters and rangers on the ground.
GPF Chief Wade Larson says the first calls for the fire came in around 12:30 in the afternoon.
He says the cause of this brush fire isn't from a recent fire or a carelessly flicked cigarette. He says the probable cause is that a fire had been smoldering in a fire pit for some time.
"It could have been burning down into the peat and just took the wind to get it back exposed again," said Larson.
"These conditions, this early in the year are a little abnormal for us," explained John Lubbers.
Lubbers is a staff supervisor for the DNR's forestry department.
"Usually, we will get these conditions occasionally, usually late in April into May."
Lubbers says the lack of rain, high winds and low humidity mean you should think twice about burning those yard clippings or lighting up a backyard campfire. Nearly all burn permits in the state have been canceled because of the conditions.
"We caution people to be smart when they are out in the woods, when it's dry like this just be safe," said Lubbers.
Lubbers says if you see a wildfire or are the cause of one to call 911 immediately.
To see if your area is under a burn restriction, click here.
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