Reinstated WDNR burn permits for Counties in Southern & Central WI

From WDNR press release of September 15, 2023:

Due to the exceptional and prolonged drought conditions and potential for elevated fire danger, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will reinstate DNR burning permits by issuing a Special Fire Order in 12 southern Wisconsin counties. The permit reinstatement will begin at 12:01 a.m., Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in designated DNR protection areas until further notice.

The permit reinstatement applies to the following 12 extensive DNR protection area counties outside incorporated cities and villages: all of Columbia, Crawford, Green Lake, Marquette, Portage, Richland, Sauk, Waupaca, Waushara counties and portions of Dane, Grant and Iowa counties.

A DNR annual burning permit is now required for burning in a barrel, a debris pile and grass or wooded areas as outlined by the permit, unless the ground is completely snow-covered. Before burning in these areas, anyone wishing to burn must obtain a DNR burn permit and then visit WisBURN for the current burn restrictions.

Traditionally, DNR burn permits are required in extensive protection areas from Jan. 1 through May 31, anytime the ground is not snow-covered. Reinstating permits allows the DNR to suspend burning on a given day during times of elevated fire danger.

A DNR burn permit is not required for campfires intended for cooking or warming, but the public is reminded to use extreme caution. Consider having small campfires in a designated fire ring or device in the evening hours to avoid burning under elevated fire conditions, which are typically found during the day.

Current wildfire concerns are primarily due to the lack of precipitation over the southern part of the state. Wisconsin has received record low rain this year, resulting in varying levels of severe to exceptional drought. These dry conditions, coupled with the potential for increased fire danger in the fall due to falling dead leaves, pine needles and other dry vegetation, make debris burning especially risky. Debris burning continues to be one of the leading causes of wildfires in Wisconsin.

The DNR intends to keep the permit requirements in place until the drought situation improves significantly, either due to long-term rain or snow events. The DNR will continue to evaluate as conditions change.

September 7 – WI DNR Cone Collection Training

Contact: Richard Nesslar,
Jeremiah Auer,
Roger Bohringer,

There are over 100 species and many varieties of the genus Pinus around the world. In Wisconsin, the eastern white pine, red or “Norway” pine and jack pine are the only native and most plentiful pine species.
The vast pine forests of the state were exploited to help build cities and towns across the Great Lakes region, supplying the required lumber products for such cities as Chicago. After this great cutover, the lands were turned into small farms by the new immigrants.

Unfortunately, a challenging climate and depleted soils halted these efforts, with the fields and pastures converting back to forest. A few species proved to be better at growing in these conditions than others.
The native red pine is easy to grow on a plantation, doesn’t require as many nutrients as crops or even other tree species do, and, if properly managed, could provide numerous products throughout its lifetime. Red pine can be used for making paper, lumber, utility poles, cabin logs and many other products.
“The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry nurseries historically grew over 10 million red pine seedlings annually,” said Joseph Vande Hey, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Reforestation team leader at the Wilson State Nursery in Boscobel. “These seedlings were planted by private individuals, county and state forests, tribes and forest industry.”

More recently, that number has fallen to less than 1 million annually due to land use changes, landowner preferences and smaller parcel sizes. However, in recent years, there seems to be a renewed interest in replanting some of the older plantations after they are harvested, returning the site to red pine again. This has begun to put pressure on all public and private nurseries to produce more seedlings.

Staff will also hold training sessions for anyone interested in picking red pine or other cones on Sept.7, 2023 from 1 – 3 p.m. at the Griffith and Hayward state nurseries.
For more information, please contact the Griffith State Nursery at 715-424-3700.

[Read more…]

WDNR Drought Resource Webpage

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the recent launch of a Drought Resource webpage as a new public source for information related to the drought conditions experienced by 82% of the state.

The new webpage gives viewers access to current drought conditions across Wisconsin, helpful resources from various DNR programs and other state and national resources regarding drought conditions. Visitors to the webpage can also find tips for conserving water and information about accessing water during a drought based on their specific water use needs.

This resource comes in response to an abnormally hot and dry summer which, according to the National Weather Service, has created drought conditions throughout much of Wisconsin. In the last few years, Wisconsin has transitioned from record-high water levels to one of the driest starts to summer on record in many parts of the state. This dramatic change has resulted in lower water levels and increased the risk and severity of wildfires across the state.

“These fluctuations highlight the importance of managing Wisconsin’s resources for the full range of climate conditions the state may experience now and in the future. While Wisconsin has abundant water resources, drought years emphasize the importance of conservation and efficiency practices,” said Adam Freihoefer, Water Use Section Manager.

The Drought Resource webpage also provides an easy and convenient way for the public to report the visual signs of drought in their area, including parched, yellow lawns, visibly stressed or stunted vegetation and low surface water levels.

“The public reporting of drought conditions helps the DNR and our partners better respond to these situations across Wisconsin,” said Freihoefer.

Visit the Drought Resource webpage to learn more about how droughts can affect public health, water use, agriculture, climate, recreation and fish and wildlife populations, as well as options for accessing and efficiently using Wisconsin’s water resources.

WDNR Fall Hunting Outlook

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today released the 2023 fall forecast series detailing the coming seasons’ hunting outlook for a variety of popular game species.

These forecasts outline what hunters and trappers across the state can expect this year while pursuing their favorite game species. Forecasts also include helpful reminders about public land access opportunities, game registration requirements and season dates.

“The DNR’s species forecasts are the result of a thorough analysis of federal and local surveys, the findings of research projects, weather patterns and the on-the-ground information we receive from our advisory committees and staff,” said Shawn Rossler, DNR Wildlife Biologist. “They are based on a good mix of hard science and the observations of DNR professionals and experienced outdoorspeople from across Wisconsin.”

Hunters and trappers can explore fall forecasts at the links below:

For more resources and information about many of Wisconsin’s most popular game species, including current regulations, season dates, hunting hours as well as public and private hunting lands, check out the DNR’s new hunting webpages

Pallet Fire in Waushara County

830-Acre Fire In Waushara County 99% Contained

The 830-acre Pallet Fire in Waushara County is now 99% contained. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

COLOMA, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fire crews and local agencies are on the scene of the now roughly 830-acre Pallet Fire in Waushara County, southeast of Coloma. The fire is 99% contained.

Three primary structures and 17 secondary structures have been lost. The cause of the wildfire is debris burning.

Previous reports have stated various sizes; the update to 830 acres is based on the use of infrared/satellite technology and location points taken on the ground used to help get a more accurate depiction of the size of the fire. The fire size will be updated as more information is available.

Officials say the Pallet Fire travelled northeast and burned in pine and mixed hardwoods along Cumberland Avenue and north of Hwy 21. Fire officials on scene indicated erratic fire behavior due to gusty winds and drought conditions, along with reports of torching with fire moving into the crowns of the trees. Several spot fires occurred ahead of the fire and were suppressed and monitored.

DNR fire suppression resources and local fire departments are on the scene, continuing suppression efforts and providing structure protection. Eight firefighters have been treated for injuries and released.

DNR Incident Management Team staff continue to operate at the command post located at the Coloma Fire Department. Waushara County Emergency Management and local law enforcement agencies are also on the scene. Alliant Energy is working to restore power in the area.

Almost no rain was received in the fire perimeter overnight, so fire conditions remain active today. Drought, warm temperatures and low relative humidity are still forecasted, but winds are expected to be lighter today.

Fire danger remains high across many parts of the state due to these conditions. Campfires, ashes from fireplaces, outdoor grills, smoking, chainsaws, off-road vehicles or other small engines have the potential to throw a spark, ignite a fire and spread quickly. Please use extreme caution and avoid burning until conditions improve.

For the most current fire situation and evacuation information, follow the DNR on Facebook and Twitter, or check current fire danger, wildfire reports and burning restrictions on the DNR website.


WI DNR Announces Nonresident License Fee Increases

Wisconsin DNR Announces Nonresident Hunting And Fishing License Fee Increase

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced a fee increase for many nonresident hunting and fishing licenses as a result of the final 2024-2025 budget enacted by Governor Tony Evers last week.

The fee changes range from $5-$40 and are only for nonresidents. Licenses for the 2023-2024 season are valid through March 31, 2024. The last time license fees for residents or nonresidents increased was 2005.

New Nonresident Hunting Fees

  • Annual Small Game: $90
  • Five-Day Small Game: $60
  • Deer: $200
  • Archery and Crossbow: $165
  • Turkey: $65
  • Furbearing Animal: $165

New Nonresident Fishing Fees

  • Individual One-Day: $15
  • Individual Annual: $55
  • Individual Four-Day: $29
  • Individual 15-Day: $33
  • Family Annual: $70
  • Family 15-Day: $45

New Nonresident Combination License Fees

  • Conservation Patron: $620
  • Sports License: $295

Hunting and fishing licenses can be purchased online via Go Wild, any DNR Service Center or from an authorized sales agent location.

Warning on Misleading Home Warranty Mail Solicitations

Wisconsin OCI, DFI, and DATCP Alert Consumers to Misleading Home Warranty Mail Solicitations

MADISON, Wis. – Today, July 10, 2023,  the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance of Wisconsin (OCI), Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) are alerting consumers about a surge of suspicious mailers being sent regarding home warranties.

These mailers often warn consumers that their “home warranty may be expiring or may have already expired,” and ask for payment. These mailers are scams and should not be answered. Some letters may even include the name of your mortgage company to make the solicitation appear more legitimate. Do not be fooled by their knowledge of this information; the name of your mortgage lender and servicer are public record and can be found online.

Look for these red flags when encountering suspicious home warranty mailers:

  • Use of threatening language or unnecessary urgency.
    • e.g. “final notice,” “immediate response requested,” or “we reserve the right to revoke your eligibility for service coverage after 5 days.”
  • It appears to be from a government entity but does not include specific details.
    • e.g. “home warranty division” or “lender services.”
  • Information that does not match your circumstances.
    • e.g. stating “your home warranty may be expiring,” when you do not have a home warranty.
  • There is no return address and the only contact information given is a phone number.
  • A fake check is included with the mailer.

The safest course of action to keep yourself protected is to not respond. Do not call the phone numbers listed on these mailers. The person on the other end is likely seeking your personal information.

“Do your research, utilize resources you know and trust, and be careful responding to calls, texts, letters, or email solicitations from people or companies you don’t recognize,” said Insurance Commissioner Nathan Houdek.

“Solicitations that use threatening language or unnecessary urgency are almost always a scam. If you receive any correspondence about your mortgage or home warranty that you aren’t sure about, don’t use the contact information in the message. Instead, call your lender directly to inquire about the matter,” said DFI Secretary-designee Cheryll Olson-Collins.

“Scammers try to pressure consumers into handing over their money or private information before they get a chance to question the request’s legitimacy,” said DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski. “No honest agency or business will demand immediate payment. If you have questions or suspect a scam, contact DATCP and our partners DFI and OCI.”

Contact the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance with questions or to report issues regarding disputes over an extended warranty plan or service contract at or (608) 266-0103.

Contact the Department of Financial Institution’s Corporations Division with questions regarding business registrations and filings via email at or call (608) 261-7577. For other extended warranty questions contact DFI’s Bureau of Consumer Affairs via email at or call (608) 264-7969.

For more information on current scams, consumer laws and publications, and how to file a complaint, contact the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at (800) 422-7128 or by email at

Award Nominations Due June 30

Do you know an outstanding WWOA member? Nominate them today!

We need your help to identify individuals who have made outstanding contributions to WWOA, your local chapter, and/or the private forestry community in Wisconsin. 

WWOA has four different award categories.

  • Distinguished Service
  • Chapter Distinguished Service
  • Special Recognition
  • Next Generation

WWOA’s awards nomination forms can be found at , then follow the link under Awards Committee. Nominations are due to the WWOA office by June 30 of each year for consideration in the same year. Selection(s) will be made by the WWOA Awards Committee. Nominations may be held over for consideration in subsequent years.

Send nominations to the WWOA Office:
PO Box 285
Stevens Point, WI 54481


Your Comments are Needed on the WI State Budget

Have you benefitted from these programs – walked in your woods with a WI DNR forester, used WI Forest Landowner Grant Program cost-sharing, met with a Tax Law Specialist about your Managed Forest Law or Forest Crop Law plan, attended a winter woodland owner conference with WDNR speakers, learned from an article in Wisconsin Woodlands magazine that was authored by WDNR staff, or attended a WWOA chapter field day with WDNR staff presenting – don’t take these benefits for granted!

The WWOA Board of Directors met on Monday, March 27, 2023 to discuss proposed forestry budget initiatives for the Wisconsin State Budget 2023-25.   Here is their letter to members of the Joint Committee on Finance regarding forestry budget initiatives WWOA letter to WI Joint Committee on Finance.

WWOA members are encouraged to contact members of the Joint Committee on Finance or their State Senator or Assembly person to express their support verbally or in writing for forestry initiatives within the State Budget.  If legislators do not hear from woodland owners about forestry issues, then forestry items become easy to delete from or not include in the state budget.

In 2017, the Forestry Mill Tax (provided dedicated financial support forestry programs) was sunset.  Funding for forestry programs now comes General Purpose Revenue (GPR).  This means that forestry expenditures compete with other state program needs making it vital that woodland owners speak up to maintain these programs for the health of Wisconsin’s forests.

Voice your opinion by:

Other natural resource budget information can be found at
State Budget – Conservation Fund Report (Informational Paper 65) 2023– the Forestry Account starts on pg 18

Adam N. Payne to Serve as WDNR Secretary

MADISON  Gov. Tony Evers today announced his appointment of Adam N. Payne to serve as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) effective Jan. 3, 2022. The appointment fills the vacancy created by former Secretary Preston D. Cole’s retirement.

“Adam has deep Wisconsin roots and understands that our vast and valuable resources—from our waterways to our farmlands—are core to who we are as a people and a state,” said Gov. Evers. “He is an outdoorsman, a conservationist, and has been a strong, successful leader for Sheboygan County. I know he will bring that same dedication and spirit of service to this role as secretary.”

Payne currently serves as the county administrator for Sheboygan County, a position he has held for more than two decades. As county administrator, Payne has served as the chief administrative officer, coordinating and directing countywide administrative and management functions, initiating program and policy changes, working with state government for the betterment of the county, and leading Sheboygan County’s annual budget development process. Prior to serving as county administrator, Payne was the executive director of the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association and served for five years at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection from 1990 to 1995, including as the director of the Farmland Preservation Program.

“It is an honor to accept Gov. Evers’ appointment to serve as Secretary of the DNR,” said Payne. “I have always had a passion for protecting and enhancing our natural resources and am an avid outdoorsman. I look forward to working with a strong and diverse team of DNR staff, the Board and its many partners and stakeholders to problem-solve, protect, and enhance our natural resources for people today and for generations to come.”

Payne is from Plymouth, where he raised his family and as a boy, worked on his grandmother’s farm. Originally from Stevens Point, Payne grew up learning how to fish, trap, and hunt from his father along the Wisconsin River, and as an active outdoorsman to this day, Payne understands the importance of protecting Wisconsin’s natural resources for generations to come. During his time as county administrator, Payne led the County through two major conservation projects, including cleaning up the Sheboygan River and Harbor and purchasing and preserving the Amsterdam Dunes, which encompasses 328 acres of undeveloped shoreline along Lake Michigan.

Payne has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Communications and Urban and Regional Planning, respectively.

A photo of Payne is available here.