Community Wildfire Protection Education
FALL YARD CARE ALTERNATIVES TO LEAF BURNING
With all those leaves piling up in your yard, here are some suggestions for fall clean up.
Using leaves for mulch and compost can enrich the health of lawns and gardens, save money on fertilizer. Try one of the following easy methods to manage leaves, branches, grass clippings and other yard trimmings.
If you would rather compost your leaves, there are many easy structures you can build to start a compost pile. Be sure to maintain a mix of "browns" (fallen leaves, dead plants, coffee grounds and small branches) and "greens" (grass clippings, green plants and food scraps). Finished compost can be sprinkled into lawn soil or used in a garden to provide organic material and nutrients. Ultimately, this builds soil organic content and reduces the need for fertilizers.
Check out the DNR website for more info on composting Click Here
MULCHING LEAVES IN PLACE
Leaves are rich in carbon, phosphorus and potassium – all essential nutrients needed by plants, including turf grasses. Mow leaves along with the grass during fall and leave the finely chopped material on your lawn. Another option is to rake up the leaf pieces and use them as winter ground cover for gardens and around trees and shrubs. This will help insulate plants and protect them from winter freeze damage.
SOME "FIREWISE" TIPS FOR FALL CLEANUP
Burning permits are REQUIRED by the Wisconsin DNR when the ground is not completely snow-covered. DNR burning permits are issued annually to a person, not to a specific address, and are non-transferable.
Your burning permit is assigned to you, as an individual, and can be used anywhere in the state that a DNR burning permit is required if you have complied with local and state burning laws. Burning permits are free and easy to obtain. You can get one by clicking here.
Spring is Wisconsin's peak fire season and when most fire restrictions are in effect. This occurs shortly after the snow-cover disappears and prior to vegetation greening. Burning is typically restricted to late afternoon or evening hours to reduce the chances of a fire escaping. In the evening, winds are calmer, humidity rises and temperatures are cooler. Always keep an eye on the changing weather conditions and stay within the specified burn times and size limitations as indicated by the daily restrictions.
Permit holders must comply with all the conditions associated with the burning permit and take all reasonable precautions to prevent escape of the fire. The person responsible for lighting the fire is required to have a valid burning permit with them at all times while burning and must be available to present to law enforcement or firefighters if requested. If you fail to obtain a burning permit, do not comply with the daily fire restrictions or allow your fire to escape, you may be cited by law enforcement.
Remember to check the daily burning restrictions or call the hotline 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) before burning.
KEEP IT SAFE
Debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires in Wisconsin. If you choose to burn, here are a few tips.
- Have your permit and follow any restrictions
- Comply with local ordinances
- Burn only legal materials
- Watch the weather – don’t burn under windy conditions!
- Make sure the adjacent area is free of all flammables
- Have a water source and firefighting tools handy
- Keep the size of the fire small
- Maintain a mineral soil firebreak around the burn area
- Never leave your fire unattended!
- If weather conditions change for the worse, put your fire out
- If your fire escapes, call 911 immediately
- Make sure the burn is completely out before leaving
- Use lots of water to drown your fire. Stir and repeat till cold
- Check for any remaining smoke or embers
What’s legal to burn?
- Pine needles
- Clean wood
- Unrecyclable paper
- Unrecyclable cardboard
What can’t I burn?
- Wire and metal
- Vinyl and rubber products
- Oil based paint
- Painted, stained or treated wood
CAMPFIRES VS DEBRIS…Do I need a burning permit or not?
If you are burning in a campfire ring or fire pit with the intent to eliminate debris, a DNR burning permit is required. However, small fires for warming or cooking purposes do not require a DNR burning permit and are allowed anytime of the day, except during Emergency Burning Restrictions.