WAUPACA - The dryness continues across Northeast Wisconsin. Throughout the area, less than half the normal amount of rain for the summer.
And though rain is needed throughout the area, in some communities the situation is worse.
Beginning at midnight, the DNR will extend emergency burning restrictions to six additional counties.
That includes some in our area.
The extension includes Jackson, Monroe, Waupaca, Wood, Portage and Waushara counties and additional portions of Adams and Juneau counties.
Emergency burning restrictions were already in effect for: Crawford, Richland, Sauk, Columbia, Marquette, Green Lake and portions of Iowa, Grant, Dane, Adams, and Juneau counties.
Campfires are no doubt a staple when it comes to camping.
"It's nostalgia, you know, it's something to gather around, people like it, good conversation, doesn't feel like camping without it," said Mary Mickelson of Sheboygan.
But some campers in the state will have to make do without a fire this weekend.
The DNR has banned campfires in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, the Lapham Peak unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest, Richard Bong State Recreation Area and Big Foot Beach State Park due to continued drought and high to very high fire danger conditions.
Campers at Hartman Creek State Park in Waupaca lucked out this week, but that doesn't mean anything is a go.
Waupaca County is on the emergency burn restrictions list, which comes with some rules.
"Essentially don't leave your fire unattended, make sure they're located within the designated fire rings themselves," explained Park Ranger Fred Viste.
According to the DNR, under emergency burning restrictions, burning of any combustible material outdoors is prohibited until further notice. This includes:
- All fireworks (restricted and non-restricted)
- Combustible material in a burn pile or burn barrel, including grass or wooded areas (all DNR burn permits suspended)
- Campfires with the exception of developed camping areas within a metal fire ring
- Outdoor disposal of ashes, charcoal briquettes, matches or any burning material
- Smoking a cigar, cigarette, or pipe, except within an enclosed vehicle or building
"We're out in the public, land patrols, talking to campers, educating them with regards to the fire rules and regulations," Viste said. "We'll be out patrolling, if we see anything, we'll address it as it comes."
Despite some setbacks, the Mickelsons say they'll make the best of it and will enjoy the weekend with the grandkids.
"We'll make sure they're not taking anything anywhere, doing anything, keep everything safe, so nothing will happen, cause we certainly wouldn't want to lose something as beautiful as this," Mickelson said.
The DNR intends to keep the emergency burning restrictions in place until we receive a significant amount of rainfall.
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