Weather Forecast


Wind fuels Homestead Township grass fire

Brian Ehnert uses a front end loader to break up a burning hay bale in a field northeast of New York Mills.

NEW YORK MILLS - A fire burned about five acres and 10 hay bales last Thursday in Homestead Township. No structures were damaged in the fire, which was likely started accidently by a discarded cigarette.

New York Mills firefighters responded to the call about noon at the Darlan Koehler farm northeast of New York Mills to find the landowner and neighbors trying to stop the fire from spreading to nearby fields.

Fueled by relatively high winds, the fire spread from the hay field to a nearby swamp where it was extinguished.

DNR adds more Minnesota counties to burning restriction list

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is adding more counties to the list of those designated for burning restrictions.

Restrictions went into effect April 20 in the following 13 counties: Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Mahnomen, Otter Tail, Polk (that portion south and east of County Road 6 from the Manhomen County line to MN Hwy 92 east to the Clearwater County line), St Louis (that portion south of county road 16), and all of Wadena County.

Burning restrictions were previously announced for Benton, Douglas, Grant, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Pope, Stearns, Stevens, and Todd counties and took effect on April 16.

These restrictions are put in place each spring to reduce the occurrence of wildfires, which can damage homes and other personal property.

Due to snowmelt, warming weather, and dry vegetation, much of Minnesota is at increased risk of wildfires. The risk will remain high until green vegetation emerges. Until that time, no burning will be allowed in the affected counties unless a special permit is obtained from a local forestry office.

Special permits will only be written for extenuating circumstances such as time sensitive construction projects and prescribed burning conducted by professional firefighters.

The DNR encourages the use of composting, recycling, and chipping as alternatives to burning.

While debris burning will be curtailed, the use of campfires, if smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height, will continue to be allowed. Permits are not required for this type of fire if it meets the above conditions and is monitored until coals have cooled.