Tricounty News

Spring fire restrictions begin

Spring fire restrictions begin April 15 in Stearns and Wright plus 17 other Minnesota counties

Restrictions on open burning in 19 counties in central Minnesota go into effect April 15, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today.

Rapid snowmelt across much of the state has increased the risk of wildfires, particularly in grassy areas. These fine fuels can ignite easily and spread quickly. This is a cause for concern, according to DNR Fire Prevention Specialist Larry Himanga.

"The lack of snow on the ground allows the vegetation to dry out much faster, which increases the likelihood that a fire will start," Himanga said. "The rapid snow melt this past week has increased drastically the risk for wildfires."

Burning restrictions begin at 8 a.m. Friday, April 15, in the following counties: Anoka, Benton, Cass south of the border of the Chippewa National Forest, Crow Wing, Chisago, Dakota, Douglas, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Pope, Sherburne,

Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Washington, and Wright.

The DNR will add counties as the snow cover recedes northward. For those who plan to burn in counties that still allow open burning with a permit, the window of opportunity will be brief. Most of Minnesota will be under restrictions soon, Himanga said.

Once restrictions are in place, special permits will be written for extenuating circumstances only. Such circumstances might include burning permits for 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 three feet in diameter and three feet in height, will continue to be allowed. Permits are not required for this type of fire if it meets the above conditions and is monitored until the coals are dead out.