The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources cautions residents and visitors in northeastern Minnesota to be aware of elevated fire conditions this hot and dry holiday weekend. Recent heavy rains in other parts of the state unfortunately bypassed the abnormally dry Arrowhead Region, leaving fire danger high. An unintentional spark in these dry conditions could ignite a wildfire.
“Expanding drought conditions have dried grasses, shrubs, and trees in the area, resulting in increased fire danger,” said Aaron Mielke, Forestry Division assistant area supervisor in Grand Marais. “Please, be extra cautious with personal fireworks and campfires as you celebrate this holiday.”
Mielke notes the current drought conditions are similar to conditions of the high fire years of 2006 and 2011, the latter of which was the year of the 93,000-acre Pagami Creek wildfire.
With the increased potential for wildfires, restrictions on open burning are in effect in Cook and Lake counties and the northern portion of St. Louis County. Campfires are allowed, and should be limited to no more than 3 feet in diameter by 3 feet high. The ground should be cleared of all combustible material at least 5 feet from the base of the campfire. However, there is a campfire ban in the Superior National Forest, except for at a limited number of developed campgrounds. Attend to campfires at all times.
Already this year, escaped campfires and fireworks have caused more than 40 wildfires in Minnesota. With interest in these activities heightening on the Fourth of July weekend, the DNR offers these reminders:
- When enjoying a campfire or lighting personal fireworks, keep a hose or water nearby.
- Remember, fireworks are not allowed in state forests, state parks, or any other state lands.
- After a campfire, drown-stir-repeat until it is out cold.
- If a campfire is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.
Check current fire danger conditions at the DNR statewide fire danger and burning restrictions map. If you do see a wildfire, call 911.