Wildfires in Minnesota

Wildfire Prevention Begins with You!

DNR costs of fighting wildfires topped $25 million in 2017. With 98 percent of all wildfires resulting from people, we need your help to prevent them!

Numbers of Wildfires in Minnesota, 2013-2017

bar chart of number of wildfire in MN. 2013 1069, 2014 468, 2015 1108, 2016 819, 2017 600

Major Wildfires

large fire engulfing pine trees.

Ham Lake Fire-36,442 acres (2007)

This fire resulted from a campfire that was not fully extinguished. 75,850 acres burned, including 39,408 acres in Canada. Cost to extinguish: $11.8 million.

aerial photo showing fire in boundary Waters caneo area

Pagami Creek-93,000 acres (2011)

Ignited by a lighting strike, the Pagami Creek fire burned more than 93,000 acres, much of it within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

prescribed burn

Green Valley-7,100 acres (2013)

This wildfire burned in Becker, Hubbard and Wadena counties. The fire destroyed 12 homes, 43 outbuildings and three commercial structures.


If you cause it, you pay for it!


illustration for fire costs

Causes of Wildfires in Minnesota

 wildfires causes pie charts

Interesting Facts

  1. 1 in 4 wildfires is caused by yard debris fires burning out of control. Unattended debris often mistakenly believed to be extinguished, continues to be leading cause of wildfires.
  2. More than half of all acres burned in 2017 resulted from arson fires.
  3. Since 2013, vehicles have caused almost half of all fires started by equipment. When parking off highway, avoid dry, fine vegetation, such as grass, as hot exhaust can readily ignite it.
  4. The DNR and rail operators have a long partnership of working together to reduce railroad caused wildfires. These fires often start in remote areas, which delays 3detection and response.

Goals of Minnesota DNR Forestry fire suppression:

  • Prevent wildfires whenever possible.
  • Respond within 20 minutes.
  • Keep fires at 10 acres or fewer.
  • Aggressively protect structures when if can be safely accomplished.
  • Support local fire department suppression with the use of fixed and rotor wing aviation, tracked vehicles, and other specialized equipment.

DNR Forestry works with other public agencies to protect 45.5 million acres of land and the people who live there.

Handout Info graphic