(10/4/12) As the fall harvest gets into full swing, Wisconsin's drought conditions are the worst they've been all year.
The U-S Drought Monitor said today that all of the Badger State is abnormally dry or worse, except for the northern tip of Door County. That's about the same as a week ago. But moderate drought conditions expanded greatly to the north, stretching into Ashland and Iron counties while going as far south as Racine. About 43-percent of the state's land area is in a moderate drought – and another 44-percent still has severe or extreme drought conditions. The extreme drought area covers all or parts of six southern-most counties, plus an area in west central Wisconsin where a stubborn grass fire near Mather has burned for several days. Heavy smoke from that fire caused a chain reaction traffic crash that killed a woman last Friday. The state D-N-R says about the northwest third of Wisconsin is at a high-or-very high risk of wildfires. A dozen counties in the Eau Claire region have the driest conditions. D-N-R officials have cautioned people about burning outdoors – especially after the long-running Monroe County grass fire.