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Cooling centers open due to heat
DNR restricts burning in northern Grant County
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Hot and humid conditions are expected all this week, according to the National Weather Service.

Highs are predicted in the 90s, with heat indexes nearing or exceeding 100.

Three Platteville city facilities were open last week as cooling centers — the Platteville Senior Center, 55 S. Court St.; the Platteville Public Library, 65 S. Elm St.; and the Platteville Police Department, 165 N. Fourth St.

Other designated Grant County cooling centers include:

•    Dickeyville Community Center, 500 East Ave.

•    Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 3685 County HHH, Kieler.

•    St. Thomas Catholic Church, 104 Park St., Montfort.

•    First English Lutheran Church, 215 W. Pine St., Platteville.

•    Bread of Life Church, 745 Lutheran St., Platteville.

•    Trinity Episcopal Church, 250 Market St., Platteville.

•    Platteville Senior Center, 55 S. Court St. -- today and Friday 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

More information on cooling centers is available at and from the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Southwest Wisconsin,

Updates will be available on The Platteville Journal’s Facebook page.

Northern Grant County is part of 11 counties with burning restrictions in fire protection areas under control of the Department of Natural Resources.

Emergency burning restrictions apply in the areas outside incorporated cities and villages in all of Crawford, Richland, Sauk, Columbia, Marquette and Green Lake counties, and parts of Iowa, Grant, Dane, Adams and Juneau counties.

The affected areas in Grant County are in the towns along the Wisconsin River — Wyalusing, Millville, Woodman, Marion, the Town of Boscobel, Watterstown, the Town of Muscoda, Hickory Grove and Castle Rock. The city of Boscobel and the villages of Blue River and Muscoda determine their own burning regulations.

Under these restrictions, burning of any combustible material outdoors is prohibited until further notice. This includes all fireworks (restricted and non-restricted); combustible material in a burn pile or burn barrel, including grass or wooded areas (all DNR burn permits suspended); campfires with the exception of developed camping areas within a metal fire ring; outdoor disposal of ashes, charcoal briquettes, matches or any burning material; and smoking a cigar, cigarette, or pipe, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.

The burning restrictions are primarily due to the lack of precipitation resulting in abnormally dry conditions developing over southern Wisconsin. Record low amounts of precipitation have occurred in the month of June; the Madison area is on pace to be the third driest on record with a mere 0.31 inches of rain. The fire danger level remains at “very high” in several counties making the possibility for wildfires a real concern.

“With the extreme temperatures expected, we had to take a proactive approach by implementing these restrictions in order to keep emergency responders and the public safe,” said Catherine Koele, DNR wildfire prevention specialist. “We can’t afford a single human-caused wildfire right now, especially with the July Fourth holiday upon us.”

Many area municipalities are implementing their own burn bans or cancelling organized fireworks events due to the very high fire danger.

“This underscores the fact that it is tinder dry out there and the fire danger continues to elevate each day we do not receive rain,” Koele said.

Communities with fireworks displays held in incorporated cities and villages within the restricted area are encouraged to work with local fire personnel to evaluate the conditions and make informed decisions on holding these upcoming events in order to keep the public safe. The DNR is encouraging these officials to take extra precautions such as wetting down the areas and heightened fire patrols during these organized events.

The DNR intends to keep the emergency burning restrictions in place until a significant amount of precipitation is received. “It’s going to take several good soaking rain events to get us out of these untimely circumstances,” says Koele.

For the most current fire danger information throughout Wisconsin and a detailed look at the areas under Emergency Burning Restrictions, visit keyword “fire” and select the county of interest. Otherwise, residents and tourists are encouraged to contact their local DNR office or local fire department, town or municipal officials for more information on local fire restrictions.