Geography of Burnett County, Wisconsin

Burnett County, nestled in the northwestern part of Wisconsin, is a region of pristine natural beauty, abundant water resources, and rich biodiversity. From its dense forests and tranquil lakes to its meandering rivers and rolling hills, Burnett County offers a diverse landscape that attracts outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a peaceful retreat. In this detailed exploration, we’ll delve into the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other notable features of Burnett County.


According to Politicsezine, Burnett County is situated in the northwestern part of Wisconsin, covering an area of approximately 880 square miles (2,279 square kilometers). The county is predominantly rural, with vast stretches of forests, lakes, and wetlands interspersed with small towns and rural communities.

The landscape of Burnett County is characterized by its rolling hills, wooded uplands, and numerous water bodies. The county is part of the Northern Highland region of Wisconsin, which features a mix of hardwood and coniferous forests, as well as wetlands and bogs.

The county seat, Grantsburg, is located in the central part of Burnett County and serves as a hub for commerce, government, and culture. Other communities in the county include Siren, Webster, and Danbury, each with its own unique character and amenities.


Burnett County experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by four distinct seasons with relatively cold winters and warm summers. The region’s climate is influenced by its location in the northern part of the United States and its proximity to the Great Lakes.

Summers in Burnett County are typically warm and humid, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to low 80s Fahrenheit (around 18 to 27 degrees Celsius). Heatwaves are uncommon but can occur occasionally during the summer months, with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). Thunderstorms are frequent, bringing heavy rainfall, lightning, and gusty winds to the area.

Winters in Burnett County are cold and snowy, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-teens to low 30s Fahrenheit (around -9 to 1 degree Celsius). Snowfall is common, particularly in the higher elevations and along the lake shores, with several inches of snow accumulating throughout the winter months. Cold snaps can bring temperatures well below freezing for extended periods, especially in January and February.

Spring and fall are transitional seasons in Burnett County, with mild temperatures and changing foliage making them pleasant times to visit. Spring brings the blooming of wildflowers and the return of migratory birds, while fall showcases the vibrant hues of changing leaves and the harvest of agricultural crops.

Annual precipitation in Burnett County averages around 30 to 35 inches (about 760 to 890 millimeters), with rainfall distributed fairly evenly throughout the year. Snowfall accounts for a significant portion of the precipitation during the winter months, while thunderstorms bring heavy rain during the summer.

Rivers and Lakes:

Burnett County is blessed with an abundance of rivers, lakes, and streams, which play a vital role in the region’s ecology, economy, and recreation.

The St. Croix River forms the western boundary of Burnett County, flowing through the rugged terrain and providing valuable resources for fishing, boating, and other water-based activities. The St. Croix River is designated as a National Scenic Riverway, known for its scenic beauty, clear waters, and abundant wildlife.

The county is also home to numerous smaller rivers and streams, such as the Namekagon River, the Yellow River, and the Clam River, which meander through the countryside and provide habitat for fish, wildlife, and vegetation. These waterways offer opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing, as well as scenic beauty and wildlife viewing.

In addition to the rivers and streams, Burnett County is dotted with hundreds of lakes and ponds, ranging in size from small marshes to large bodies of water. These lakes provide habitat for fish such as bass, walleye, and northern pike, as well as opportunities for boating, swimming, and picnicking.

Notable lakes in Burnett County include Big Sand Lake, Yellow Lake, and Clam Lake, each offering its own unique recreational opportunities and scenic beauty. Some lakes are surrounded by state parks or other protected areas, providing opportunities for hiking, camping, and nature observation.

Vegetation and Wildlife:

Burnett County’s diverse geography supports a variety of vegetation types, including hardwood forests, coniferous forests, wetlands, and grasslands. The county’s forests are dominated by species such as oak, maple, birch, pine, and spruce, which provide habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including deer, bear, turkey, and songbirds.

Wetlands and marshes are also important habitats in Burnett County, providing nesting grounds for waterfowl, habitat for amphibians and reptiles, and filtration of water for the region’s rivers and streams. The county’s wetlands are home to species such as wood ducks, great blue herons, and beavers.

Common wildlife species in Burnett County include white-tailed deer, black bear, raccoon, and various species of birds, such as bald eagles, osprey, and woodpeckers. The region’s lakes and rivers support a variety of fish species, including bass, walleye, and muskellunge, which attract anglers from near and far.


In conclusion, Burnett County, Wisconsin, offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and rural charm. From its rolling hills and dense forests to its tranquil lakes and meandering rivers, the county’s geography reflects the unique character of the Northern Highland region. Whether exploring the scenic waterways, hiking through the wooded hillsides, or simply enjoying the tranquility of the Wisconsin countryside, Burnett County has much to offer for residents and visitors alike.

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