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Wildfire risk down

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The risk of wildfires has gone down, and rain is in the forecast statewide for today. Even so, the D-N-R says you should not forget that it's the worst time of year for out-of-control forest and brush fires.

This is "Wildfire Prevention Week," to remember the upcoming anniversary of last May's blaze in Douglas and Bayfield counties that blackened 7,400 acres -- the state's largest forest fire in 33 years. It was only last week that far northern Wisconsin had up to 19-inches of snow. The D-N-R's Catherine Koele said it's a misconception that things don't burn after such a large snowstorm melts away. She said it's exactly the opposite because the vegetation is dead, and dry windy weather makes for a bad combination.

Officials urge those burning yard waste to make sure their fires are completely out when they're done -- and to get the proper permits. The D-N-R has reported about 150 wildfires in Wisconsin this spring, burning around 1,200 acres.

The fire danger remains high in west central Wisconsin and about the southern third of the state. Moderate fire dangers are reported everywhere else except Vilas County, where the risk is low.