If you haven't yet burned that pile of leaves in your backyard, better get to it soon as fire restrictions for much of Minnesota take effect at 8 a.m. on Monday.
Brainerd lakes area counties are included in the fire restrictions.
A map is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us. More counties will be added to the restricted area as the snow melts in northern Minnesota.
Warm temperatures in recent days have led to an increase in fire activity. Most spring wildfires begin in backyards with the burning of debris, said Olin Phillips, DNR fire protection manager. Eighty percent of all wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May, he added.
"We ask that people use alternative methods of debris disposal, such as recycling, composting or chipping," Phillips said.
Restrictions are expected to continue for four to six weeks, or until vegetation greens up enough to significantly lower fire danger.
The restriction is for debris burning permits. The DNR can issue variance permits for specific activities, such as prescribed fires conducted by trained fire personnel, burning for approved agricultural practices and construction or economic hardship burning for which there is no feasible alternative, Phillips said.
VINCE MEYER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5862.
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