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Warm weather prompts reminders about seasonal fire hazards

Warm weather prompts reminders about seasonal fire hazards

Warm weather in the 60s arrived this week, and with it, an advisory from fire officials on outdoor fire hazards that accompany the season. 

The Madison Fire Department said ordinances do not permit burning yard waste. A fire within outdoor fireplaces or pits -- with spark arresters in use and fire extinguisher or water source nearby -- are permitted as long as it is attended by a responsible adult. 

The fire department also offered reminders on other seasonal fire hazards:

City: Pothole season will be longer, not as severe

City: Pothole season will be longer, not as severe

Madison potholes will become more prevalent as the weather warms up, and the city is already racing to fill more than 15,000 of them.

The cold and the rain put stress on the roads, causing potholes to pop up all over the city.

George Dreckmann with the Madison Streets Division said the year's winter will make the season longer, but that doesn't necessarily mean more potholes.

"Because the frost went so deep this year, the thawing is going to take a little bit longer and that means the pothole season is going to spread out, but it's not going to be quite as severe," Dreckmann said.

The city will temporarily fill potholes and then finish with something more permanent in the summer. They said they'll try to fill them within 24 hours of being reported.

Extreme cold taking a toll on water meters, service laterals and water mains

Madison Water Utility responded to the highest number of frozen meter calls for any month in at least the last decade, according to a City of Madison report. 

According to Officials thirty-eight customers reported that their water meters freeze and crack or burst, and ninety-two water main breaks had been repaired in January.

Crews report that the current frost line appears to be 5 ft below ground, but as temperatures continue to plunge during the overnight hours, frost lines are expected to move deeper.

As a precaution, the city is conducting routine hydrant temperature checks to make sure the water in Madison’s mains and hydrants is well within the normal wintertime range. The city’s mains are generally buried about 6 feet below ground.
 
The city reminds people to …

Extreme cold keeps water main repair crews busy

Extreme cold keeps water main repair crews busy

The extreme cold is creating lots of work for the local water utility.

Madison Water Utility spokeswoman Amy Barrilleaux said that seven water main breaks throughout the city Tuesday morning had all the department's repair crews out. 

Barrilleaux said mains broke Tuesday on:

  • Barby Lane
  • Mohican Pass
  • Havey Road
  • Kingsbridge Road
  • Tokay Boulevard
  • Nautilus Drive
  • and at East Main & Paterson streets

The harsh dip in temperatures is the cause of the multiple breaks, Barrilleaux said. It also makes fixing the breaks difficult. 

"It always makes things a little bit slower because our crews have to take breaks and warm up," she said. The icy streets also have to be salted and drains plowed to take care of the extra water in the roadways. 

But she said the Madison Water Utility prepares for tough weather. 

Winter season ripe for snowshoeing at area parks

Winter season ripe for snowshoeing at area parks

If Madison area residents are looking for a cabin fever cure, area parks offer various trails for a fun snow activity.

Madison Parks spokeswoman Laura Whitmore said snowshoeing is a great way to get outdoors in Wisconsin's winter months and experience the Madison area parks. 

In addition to Edna Taylor Conservation Park, snowshoe trails are offered at Cherokee Marsh Mendota and North units, Elvehjem Park, Garner Park, Heritage Prairie, Heritage Sanctuary, Hoyt Park, Knollwood Conservation Park, Mineral Point Park, Prairie Ridge Conservation Park, Sandburg Woods, Walnut Grove Park and Warner Park. 

More information is available online at cityofmadison.com/parks/snowshoeing.

Watch News 3's Mary Jo Ola tackle the winter activity at Edna Taylor Conservation Park:

City workers prepare to battle bitter cold

City workers prepare to battle bitter cold

The cold had many people preparing to stay indoors the next few days, but that's not the case for everyone. For Madison Streets Division workers, it will be another day of work. 

City of Madison Streets Superintendent Chris Kelley said any delays to streets pick up will put an extra strain on workers. 

"We pick up every day, so if we go two days without (service), the third day, it'll take us quite awhile to get caught up," Kelley said. 

Streets Machine Operator Leroy Grieshammer said the cold weather will create a few changes, but won't stop him or his coworkers from getting the job done. The team members shorten their outdoor rotation times from 30 minutes to every 15 to keep from getting too cold. 

"We can always get back in the truck and warm up for a little bit, then continue on," Grieshammer said. 

Watch the News 3 report

Official: Extreme cold closes MMSD schools Monday

Official: Extreme cold closes MMSD schools Monday

An official announced Friday afternoon that Madison Metropolitan School District Schools would be closed Monday. 

MMSD spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson said just before 5 p.m. that all school buildings would be closed Monday due extreme weather conditions.

The Madison School and Community Recreation department activities, athletics and other extra-curriculars scheduled Monday were also canceled.

The district said said a decision about school Tuesday had not yet been made, and families with children attending MMSD schools should monitor local media and email for Tuesday's status. 

For additional area announcements, visit the cold weather announcements page on Channel3000.com.

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