When conditions are dry, wildfires can threaten woodland, prairies, and natural areas. These fires have the potential to spread quickly. Wildfires can affect wildlife and natural areas, along with communities.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, almost 90-percent of wildfires in the United States are caused by people. Human-caused fires can result from unattended campfires, burning debris, downed powerlines, negligently discarding cigarettes, and intentional acts of arson. The remaining 10-percent of wildfires are started by lightning or lava.
Most wildfires in Wisconsin occur in the spring. Shortly after snow disappears, a dry spring or even a few days between rains can leave grasses, pine needles, and leaf litter very dry, creating hazardous conditions. In Wisconsin summer months, wildfires do not spread as quickly due to green vegetation and elevated humidity. However, long-term seasonal drought due to lack of rain can result in dry condition that result in a spike of occurrences.
If you see a wildfire or one has been spotted in your area, take steps quickly to get out of its path and to protect your property from its approach. There are several steps you can take to help firefighters working in your area. If you are in danger, get out of the area quickly and wait until emergency responders say it is safe to return home.