Burning restrictions are being implemented by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources over much of central and northern Minnesota April 22.
The purpose of the fire restrictions is to reduce the large number of wildfires caused by vegetative debris burning and to reduce personal property damage.
On April 22, fire restrictions will go into effect in Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Douglas, Hubbard, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pine, Pope, St. Louis, Todd, Wadena and the eastern one-half of Roseau counties.
In late February, as snow disappeared from central Minnesota, some areas were reporting wildfire activity. Recent snow has temporarily slowed the outbreak of fires, but historically 80 percent of all wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May, according to Olin Phillips, the DNR's fire protection manager.
Data indicates that most spring wildfires originate from the burning of yard debris, according to Phillips.
"The DNR is asking that residents use alternative methods of debris disposal, such as recycling, composting or chipping," Phillips said.
For necessary burning, a permit is required and a variance can be applied for at DNR Forestry Division offices for prescribed fire projects, approved agricultural practices, or construction projects if an economic hardship exists. No burning permits will be issued for the burning of piled vegetative debris.
The fire restrictions last for approximately five weeks. The restrictions will be lifted when vegetation green-up occurs and safe burning conditions prevail.
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