Rain has helped some communities, others still dry

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MILWAUKEE -- Wisconsin has been added to the list of states designated "disaster areas" due to this summer's drought. The designation came Wednesday, July 25th from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's office, at the request of Gov. Scott Walker. 23 Wisconsin counties are included. Though the recent rain has helped in some areas, others are still struggling.

For nearly a month, outdoor burning has been restricted in most of southeastern Wisconsin. However, with some recent rainfall and a wheat harvest behind them, communities like Caledonia have lifted their burn bans this week.

"Because of the amount of rain that we're receiving and they're still talking about additional rains this weekend, I think we're pretty confident that we're done for the year," Village of Caledonia Fire Chief Richard Roeder said.

However, not every community has received the much-needed precipitation. It's worry enough to keep the burn ban in place for several communities.

Franklin Fire Chief James Martins says he's hoping for another good rain or two to put his mind at ease, before he'll consider lifting his community's burn ban.

"Things at this time of year are always risky to some degree if people are burning. We just want to make sure that if we're going to lift it we're going to make a good decision," Martins said.

Burning restrictions vary from community to community, so it's best to check with officials to be clear on what is allowed in your area.

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