Statewide fire conditions have led the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to place burning restrictions on additional counties.
Burning restrictions take effect Monday, May 13, at 8 a.m. in the following counties: Becker, Beltrami, Carlton, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Pennington, Roseau, and parts of Cass, Polk and St. Louis counties.
The portion of Polk County is south and east of County Road 6 from the Manhomen County line to state Highway 92 east to the Clearwater County line. In Cass County, the restrictions affect that portion of the county south of Highway 200. In St. Louis County, the restrictions affect the area 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.
The following counties are already under burning restrictions: Aitkin, Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Hennepin, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pine, Ramsey, Sherburne, Pope, Stearns, Todd, Wadena Washington and Wright and southern Cass (that portion south of Highway 200).
Restrictions are likely soon in Koochiching, Lake, Cook and northern St. Louis counties.
With the return to normal temperatures expected after the weekend, increased wind, and lower relative humidity, the remaining snow will melt rapidly. Exposed dry grass and brush creates a potential for wildfires. Minnesota has had numerous wildfires so far this spring. To date, most of these have been small.
The DNR urges extreme caution when burning. Never leave the fire unattended, have a water source available, and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving. This spring a small debris fire got away from a homeowner and destroyed the person’s home. Last year, a woman burning debris died from injuries sustained when she tried to contain an escaped fire. Anyone conducting an open fire is responsible for suppression costs when the fire escapes control.
The DNR encourages composting, recycling, and chipping as alternatives to burning.
While debris burning will be curtailed, campfires smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height are allowed.
Fire conditions may change quickly. If conditions warrant, DNR foresters have the ability to restrict local burning on short notice.