13 counties placed in burning restrictions
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will place burning restrictions on 13 additional counties in central Minnesota at 8 a.m. Monday, May 6.
These counties include Aitkin, Benton, Crow Wing, Douglas, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pope, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and southern Cass (the portion south of Highway 200).
Burning restrictions took effect April 21 in Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Pine, Ramsey, Sherburne, Washington and Wright counties.
With the return to normal and above normal temperatures over the last few days, snow is rapidly melting, exposing dry grass and brush and creating a potential for wildfires.
While weather patterns this spring have been hard to predict, the DNR anticipates that more counties will be included in the restrictions in the near future.
“If the anticipated weather pattern holds, additional counties will be added soon after May 6,” said Steve Simmer, DNR fire prevention supervisor. “I anticipate most of the northwestern and central Minnesota will lose the majority of their snow by then.”
Counties likely to be added soon will be Becker, Beltrami, Carlton, Clearwater, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Pennington, Roseau and the southeast corner of Polk (the portion south and east of County Road 6 from the Manhomen County line to state Highway 92 east to the Clearwater County line).
The DNR restricts burning during the spring between the time when snow melts and green up. This is traditionally the time when most wildfires occur. In Minnesota, most wildfires are caused by people.
Once restrictions are in place, special permits will only be written for extenuating circumstances. This may include 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.
If homeowners need to burn debris, they should plan to complete it before the restrictions take effect. When burning, use extreme caution, never leave the fire unattended, have a water source available and make sure fire is completely out before leaving.
While debris burning will be curtailed, campfires, if smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height, will continue to be allowed. Permits aren’t required for this type of fire if it meets those conditions and is monitored until coals have cooled.
Fire conditions may change quickly. If conditions warrant, DNR foresters have the ability to restrict local burning on short notice.
For more information and maps, and to check fire conditions, see: www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html