Monday, April 21, 2014

Burning restrictions extend to northern Minnesota counties

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restrict debris burning in 11 counties in northern Minnesota beginning April 28. The additional counties under restrictions reflect increasing fire potential as the snow recedes. With the snow gone, the exposed dead grass and brush can light easily and spread fires quickly.

Counties beginning restrictions on April 28 include: Beltrami, Carlton, northern Cass (entire county is now under restrictions), Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Roseau, and southern St. Louis (south of a line running from Silica on the west to Central Lakes and Brimson on the east. The exact line is a township line between 55 and 56 north and includes all of township 56). 

With the 11 northern Minnesota counties, there will be 38 counties under spring burning restrictions. Burning restrictions are already in place for many central Minnesota counties. Burning restrictions mean the state will not give out burning permits for burning brush or yard waste.  Debris burning is especially dangerous during April and May when most wildfires occur in Minnesota. The restrictions normally last from four to six weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs.

“The spring fire restrictions have resulted in a dramatic decrease in both the numbers and sizes of accidental fires,” said Ron Stoffel, DNR wildfire suppression supervisor.

The DNR advises that even though a county is not currently under spring burning restrictions, residents can’t be ensured they may conduct open burning. Local DNR forestry areas monitor conditions and are able to turn off burning permits in individual counties whenever conditions warrant. This could occur if there is a dry, windy day where fires could start easily and burn quickly, Stoffel said. 

Many local areas, counties or municipalities have specific regulations or restrictions that affect burning operations. Check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.

Campfires are still allowed. Clear an area around the campfire, watch it continuously and make sure it is out and cold to the touch before leaving.The DNR will add the far northeastern counties (Cook, Lake, and northern St. Louis) as conditions warrant.

Fire conditions may change quickly. Find more information and maps, and check fire conditions online