The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking residents and visitors to use extreme caution with campfires and fireworks this holiday weekend due to expected statewide high fire danger.
Drought conditions continue to expand, and burning restrictions remain in effect for several north-central Minnesota counties. An unintentional spark in these dry conditions could ignite a wildfire.
Casey McCoy, fire prevention supervisor, warned “All of Minnesota is abnormally dry or in a stage of drought. With trees, grasses and shrubs dried out, it’s easy for a spark to quickly become a wildfire.”
McCoy urged celebrations that don’t include fireworks, offering the reminder that fireworks are not allowed in any state park, state forest or other DNR-administered lands.
To help ensure public safety and protect natural resources, burning restrictions, including limitations on the use of fireworks, remain in effect for the southern portion of Beltrami county, and all of Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.
In counties affected by the restrictions: no fireworks may be ignited on any public or private land outside city limits (check with your local community for any additional restrictions); no campfires are allowed for backcountry or dispersed camping; campfires are allowed only in an established fire ring associated with a residence, cabin, campground or resort; and burning permits will not be issued for brush or yard waste.
McCoy said with increasingly dry conditions, there has also been an increase in the number of fires started by equipment, including those that ignite from vehicle and UTV exhaust heat on tall, dry grass.
Minnesota's wildland fire management agencies report more than 1,400 wildland fires have burned roughly 35,000 acres since March. This number of wildfire starts is more than a typical calendar year. Dry conditions have been building since last fall, and many areas in Minnesota remain abnormally dry or in moderate drought.
Fire prevention is a shared responsibility - and Minnesotans have a history of doing their part. Check the DNR statewide fire danger and burning restrictions map and follow the fire prevention tips above. People who spot a wildfire should call 911.