Worsening drought and increasing wildfire risk mean more burning restrictions begin Tuesday

August 16, 2021

To help ensure public safety and protect natural resources, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is expanding burning restrictions across portions of central and northern Minnesota, beginning 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, August 17. Burning restrictions will now cover 34 counties where intensifying drought has elevated the potential for devastating wildfires.

The burning restrictions reflect on-the-ground conditions and wildland fire response capacity as assessed on a county-by-county basis.  Under the DNR’s latest order, some counties are seeing burning restrictions for the first time this year, while some others are seeing increased restrictions and some are continuing with their previous level of restriction.

Open burning and some campfires are newly restricted in Clay, Douglas, Grant, Kittson, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Sherburne and Wright counties and the western portion of Roseau County, excluding tribal trust lands. These same restrictions remain in place for Aitkin, Benton, Carlton, Lake of the Woods, Morrison, Todd, and Stearns counties, the eastern portion of Roseau County, and the southern portion of St. Louis County, excluding tribal trust lands. Under these restrictions:

  • No campfires are allowed for dispersed, remote, or backcountry camping on all lands.
  • No campfires – with or without a ring – are allowed on any DNR-managed lands. This applies to all campsites, cabins, picnic and other day-use areas. Camp stoves are permitted.
  • On non-DNR-managed lands, attended campfires or recreational fires may be allowed in established fire rings associated with an occupied home, cabin, campground, or resort. Check with the site manager for possible additional restrictions.
  • No fireworks may be ignited on any public or private land outside city limits. Check with the local community for any additional restrictions.
  • The state will not issue burning permits for brush or yard waste.

All or part of 14 additional counties are also subject to these same restrictions on fireworks and burn permits, plus all campfires and recreational fires are banned, prescribed burning is prohibited on private lands, and the use of welding devices and other torches is prohibited when in proximity to combustible vegetation. Counties subject to these additional restrictions are: Becker, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Mahnomen, Otter Tail, the northern portion of St. Louis and Wadena counties, excluding tribal trust lands.

In these 14 counties, campers must take note that in the backcountry, and at campsites, only gas or propane camp stoves are allowed. Gas and charcoal grills are allowed at occupied homes, cabins and resorts. Charcoal and gas fires must be in devices designed for grilling.

Recreational fires are also barred on DNR-managed lands in Pope County. This county is not subject to the other restrictions on non-DNR lands listed above.

“Don’t do any burning right now, and be extremely cautious with any other activity where heat or sparks could start a wildfire,” advised Allissa Reynolds, DNR acting wildfire prevention supervisor. She encourages Minnesotans to do their part to prevent wildfires by knowing and following the burning restrictions in their county.

The DNR wildland fire information webpage includes information on current burning restrictions and a map showing the current fire restrictions.