Spring Fire Danger

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today (Saturday, April 17, 2021) announced that fire danger is very high and high across the state.

Sunday’s forecast calls for elevated fire weather, including low relative humidity and increasing southwest winds. Be aware of rapidly changing fire conditions.

Areas with VERY HIGH danger today include Adams, Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Brown, Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Door, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Florence, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green Lake, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Monroe, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Sheboygan, St. Croix, Taylor, Trempealeau, Washburn, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood counties.

Areas with HIGH fire danger today include Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Lafayette, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Vernon, Vilas, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.

It’s been a busy wildfire season in Wisconsin so far. During the first week of April alone, 161 wildfires burned more than 1,000 acres; 19 buildings were destroyed and another 179 were threatened by the flames but saved with fire suppression efforts.

The main fire causes have been debris burning and equipment, accounting for more than half of the fires. However, the two largest fires so far this spring in Juneau and Waukesha counties ignited along railroads.

Recent rain had given the state a bit of a reprieve, but the dead grass, leaves and pine needles have dried out and are ready to ignite once again.

April is the busiest month for wildfires in our state. Stay vigilant with any outdoor flames, smoke, campfires, ash disposal or equipment use. Put off burning your debris pile until the vegetation “greens up,” or becomes less dry after spring rains.

Click here to check daily fire danger, wildfire reports and burning restrictions.

Road Weight Limits on for Spring Thaw

Due to the sudden warm up across the State of Wisconsin, WI Department of Transportation has announced that the Frozen Roads period ends, and Class II restrictions begin STATEWIDE at 12:01 AM on Saturday, March 6, 2021. The Posted Roads Period begins STATEWIDE at 12:01 PM on Monday, March 8, 2021.  In addition, many County Highways will start their weight limit restrictions on Monday, March 8, 2021.  This will limit the ability of log trucks to haul timber products on many roads.
For more information on the frozen roads program including a map of the zones, please visit.
Interested in seeing how WisDOT monitors field conditions to verify frost depths, see the following video:

For updates on current road conditions, traffic incidents, even traffic cameras, check 511 Wisconsin and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/511WI

Buy Local Evergreens to Avoid the Spread of Invasives

Make sure to check your holiday evergreen trees for possible invasive pests before buying. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has detected invasive elongate hemlock scale (EHS) in Fraser and balsam fir decorations from eastern states. Yellow or brown needles and small brown, oblong spots on the underside of the needles are signs of EHS. You can learn more about EHS here.

The easiest way to avoid invasive pests in your holiday tree is to make sure it was grown in Wisconsin! There are more than 850 Christmas tree farms in WI that sell trees, garlands, and bows. An extensive list of these farms are found on the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association website. https://www.christmastrees-wi.org/

Forestry Exploration Center in Wauwatosa Opens New ADA Trail

The Forest Exploration Center (FEC) in Wauwatosa, a nonprofit organization in joint partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry recently celebrated the completion of an ADA accessible nature trail of natural crushed granite material, property entrance road, and parking area that now set the stage for future endeavors in recreation, education and forest stewardship. The trail is designed and built specifically for wheelchair, foot traffic and strollers only, and offers a one-mile loop to experience the solitude and beauty of this 60-acre hardwood woodland. “Our main focus at the Forest Exploration Center is to sustain this unique woodland environment while providing opportunities in education, recreation and stewardship. This trail improvement project enriches that focus by not only engaging and inviting the broadest spectrum of learners and abilities, but by also providing the opportunity and freedom to learn and recreate outdoors at their own pace and ability.” Tom Gaertner, FEC President and WWOA member.  Learn more at www.forestexplorationcenter.org

America’s Forests – Wisconsin episodes

America’s Forests
Wisconsin episodes
America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell
Wisconsin Episode Premiere & Panel Discussion
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
6:30-7:30 p.m. CDT (online)

REGISTER

National TV program America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell travels to Wisconsin in the latest episodes of the multi-part series.

Using the Wisconsin episodes as inspiration, please join us for a virtual premiere event on Wednesday, October 21, where we will engage in a rousing discussion with forest experts, professionals, and enthusiasts on the critical importance of well-managed public and private forest lands in Wisconsin.

Members of the panel include:
· Chuck Leavell, host of America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell
· Tony Ferguson, director of the forest products laboratory, USDA Forest Service
· Heather Berklund, forestry division administrator, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
· Buddy Huffaker, president of The Aldo Leopold Foundation
· Henry Schienebeck, executive director of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association
· Adena Rissman, associate professor of human dimensions of ecosystem management at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology.
The discussion will be moderated by James Edward Mills, a journalist, media producer, and community partnership liaison at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Links to view the two 27-minute Wisconsin episodes will be emailed to
participants upon registering. Want a sneak peak? Check out these Wisconsin episode 1 and episode 2 trailers now!

Fall Educational Opportunities

While you might not be headed back to school … you are never too old to learn something new! Here are a few fall opportunities to learn more about your woodlands, sharpen your skills, or help you to think about forests and forestry of the future and past.

A Path Ahead: A 2020 Vision for Our Forests flyer

Woodland owners are invited to join Wisconsin Society of American Foresters (SAF) at their virtual annual statewide meeting. This year, WI SAF looks back at 25 years of forest management to build a foundation for the next 25 years of success. The invited speakers will give their insight on lessons learned in the woods and in the office, and they will foster discussion on creative ways we can collectively move Wisconsin forests forward.

Webinars are held on Sept 14, 23, October 1, 6, 14 and 22.

All webinars run from 1:00-2:30 pm with discussion from 2:30-3:30 pm.

SAF Registration closes 1 week prior to each webinar.

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Woodland Owner Webinar Series: Forestry and Climate Change

St. Croix River Association webinar will cover How can we protect our woods in a changing climate while also taking advantage of our forests as carbon sinks? This webinar will help answer these questions.

Stephen Handler, a climate change specialist with the USDA Forest Service, will discuss how you can factor climate change in forest management. He will also discuss tools to help evaluate your climate change risks.

Gabriel Burns, a climate change specialist for the MN DNR Division of Forestry, will talk about emerging carbon market opportunities for private forest landowners. He will discuss different incentive programs designed for landowners interested in improving forest health and provide an example of a landowner who benefited from enrolling their lands in an offset program.

September 23 from 1:30 – 2:30 pm

Please note that this event is free, but St. Croix River Assoc. registration is required.

You will receive a confirmation email with a link to the webinar upon registration.

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Central Wisconsin Invasives Partnership is offering a webinar on identifying and controlling invasive plants that invade woodlands. Webinar will be held on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM. The webinar will be recorded and posted for later viewing. For more information on CWIP registration. The event will also be streamed on Facebook Live, view the CWIP stream at 10:00 AM on Saturday, September 26th.

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Forest History Association of Wisconsin (scroll down home page to webinars) is offering a webinar series on a variety of historical topics including Historic Logging Practices on Ojibwe Reservations,Thunder Lake Narrow Gauge, History of Trees for Tomorrow, Wisconsin’s Fire Towers – 1911 to the Present Day, Heritage and Success of Wisconsin’s School Forest Program (note this webinar is at 2 pm) and more…

Webinars are held on Sept 22, 23, 29, 30, October 6, 7, 20, and 21.

All webinars start at 7 pm, except October 21 which starts at 2 pm.

FHAW registration for each webinar.

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UW-Stevens Point’s Forest Education and Development Initiative offers a variety of educational opportunities including online training courses that you complete at your own pace and teacher development.

Wanted-Wisconsin State Capitol Christmas Tree

If you have a tree meeting the following qualifications and are willing to donate it to the citizens of Wisconsin for the upcoming Christmas Season we’d like to know.

  • Balsam Fir approximately 35 – 45 feet tall.
  • Full branches throughout the tree, if possible. Otherwise, a second donated tree may be needed to utilize the branches for filler.
  • The tree should be accessible to the necessary logging and loading equipment for removing the tree from the property. Also, there are often media outlets or groups that like to watch the tree being harvested.
  • All the cutting, loading, and hauling expenses are to be donated.

The official contact form on the Wisconsin Department of Administration website is https://doa.wi.gov/DFDM_Documents/CapitolTreeSelectionGuidelines.pdf

WWOA members, Jim and Katie Matykowski, featured in USDA, NRCS’s Newsletter

Early in the morning, if you listen intently, the distinct song of the Golden-winged Warbler can be heard on the five acres of recently sheared tag alder in Marinette County, Wisconsin. Through an RCPP project, Jim and Katie Matykowski managed their tag alder to create early successional habitat for the Warbler, helping to bring back the population from decline.  Learn more and see photos at NRCS.

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Verso Corp closing Wisconsin Rapids Mill

WAOW from Wausau is reporting that Verso Corporation announced Monday that it will be closing it’s Wisconsin Rapids paper mill indefinitely.

According to Verso’s press release the closure is resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic that decline in demand for graphic paper and reduced use of print advertising in various industries.

“It is critical that we maintain a healthy balance sheet and focus on cash flow, while balancing our supply of products and our customers’ demand,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Adam St. John, in a news release. “After a comprehensive review of post-pandemic demand forecasts and capacity, we made the difficult decision to idle the Duluth and Wisconsin Rapids mills. We expect the idling of these facilities to improve our free cash flow. The sell through of inventory is expected to offset the cash costs of idling the mills.”

Verso expects to idle the Wisconsin Rapids Mill by the end of July 2020, and the Duluth mill by June, 2020. The two closures will result in the layoff of approximately 1,000 employees.

The Wisconsin Rapids Mill employs around 900, and according to Verso, “a majority of the employees will be laid off.” An unknown number of employees will be kept on after July 31 for an unknown amount of time to continue limited operations and maintenance of the mill.

According to the press release, Verso is going to explore “viable and sustainable alternatives” for the paper mill, including restarting if market conditions improve, selling, or closing permanently.

WWOA In Person Activities Cancelled Through August 31, 2020

On July 29, 2020, the WWOA Board of Directors decided to continue our CANCELLATION OF ALL IN PERSON WWOA activities running through August 31, 2020. The WWOA Board will monitor the ever changing situation on a month by month basis going forward. The WWOA website calendar will continue to list changes as they occur.

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