Burning restrictions begin today (March 26) for 35 counties throughout the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced.
The counties include: Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, southern Beltrami (that portion south of Highway 1), Benton, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Manhomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Polk (that portion south and east of County Road 6 from the Manhomen County line to Minn. Highway 92 east to the Clearwater County line) Pope, Ramsey, Roseau (that portion west of Highway 89), Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Washington, and Wright. These restrictions are put in place each spring to reduce the occurrence of wildfires, which can damage homes and other personal property.
Beginning April 2, restrictions will also be placed on the following counties: Beltrami (that portion north of Highway 1), Cook, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Roseau (that portion east of Highway 89), and all of St. Louis County.
Due to the continued 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 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 unless limited by the local jurisdiction. Statewide permits are not required for this type of fire if it meets the above conditions and is monitored until coals have cooled.
Fire conditions may change quickly over the next few weeks. For more information and maps, and to check fire conditions, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html.