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MADISON - With leaf collection and leaf burning in full swing this fall season, the Department of Natural Resources has a new, interactive online tool that provides information to Wisconsin residents and businesses about open burning.

The "Know Before Your Burn" web page includes an interactive tool called "Can I burn?," which allows users to input information regarding their burn intent, locations and types of materials they want to burn, and then provides directions on what to do next.

"Burning regulations are in place to protect air quality, encourage proper management of wastes and help reduce the risk of wildfires," said Waste and Materials Management Program Director Joe Van Rossum. "The DNR hopes the new online tool will make it easier to determine if open burning is safe, help identify if permits are necessary and educate the public on how to obtain the proper approvals and permits."

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Van Rossum added that state regulations generally prohibit open burning due to the associated health and environmental impacts, but there are exceptions for certain materials such as clean wood and yard waste. The web tool helps explain what you can burn and if you need department approval. In many cases, where burning is allowed, you might also need a DNR wildfire prevention burn permit.

The online tool is user-friendly and takes less than a minute to complete. If residents are intending to burn several different material types, they will have to complete the tool for each type to determine eligibility.

You can find the tool by going to dnr.wi.gov and searching keyword "burn," or you can access it from any of the open burning web pages. The webpages also include updates on open burning's environmental and health impacts, DNR contacts, information on alternative ways to manage materials and how to file open burning complaints.

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