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Burning, watering restrictions in place for Detroit Lakes, county

Dry, hot weather brings burning and water restrictions.

The city of Detroit Lakes has a watering restriction in place June-August from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Water/Wastewater Plant Supervisor Jarrod Christen said it's the same restriction that has been in place past summers.

Not just designed to conserve water, the ban is set in place to take the load off the plant and keep the tanks full.

On average, the city uses 1.1 million gallons per day. In the summer, that can reach 2.4 million gallons a day. That's mostly due to lawn sprinkling, he said.

"It's not like we're going to run out of water," he said, adding Detroit Lakes doesn't have the same worries as Fargo of running dry.

Detroit Lakes gets its water from an aquifer. Fargo water comes from the Red River.

Not only does summer weather put extra pressure on the plant, Christen said it also brings extra cost for the city because of chemicals to treat the water.

Although not likely, Christen said the ban could run into September if that month was as dry as the three previous months.

Radio and newspaper ads have been asking the public to conserve water, so there has been no need for police to be out circling the city looking for daytime sprinklers.

"People have been policing themselves pretty well," he said.

Along with the water restriction, and what seems to be a restriction on rain as well, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has issued a burning restriction for Becker County.

As of now, it's only a restriction, but that could turn into a ban any day.

DNR Forestry Supervisor Marty Wiley said under the restriction, people can still have campfires, but burning permits are only issued for special reasons, like a large brush pile that needs to be burned.

Campfires are described as three feet in diameter with a clearing of five feet in diameter around the fire.

Although it rained in the area last week, precipitation was scattered. Wiley said some areas of Detroit Lakes got .16 inch, while out at the DNR office, located only a couple miles out of the city, there was .94 inch of rain.

"My need's right here, we haven't had any fires getting out of hand," he said.

The only fires that have been reported to the DNR have been large machinery starting on fire while haying dry fields. Outside of the Detroit Lakes area though, conditions are worse.

"You go more toward Mahnomen County and Park Rapids, they're crispy," Wiley said.

If someone is going to have a campfire, Wiley warned, make sure areas are clear of potential problems.