The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will place burning restrictions over the central part of the state beginning April 14 because fire danger is expected to rapidly increase as winds pick up and snow continues to melt.
These counties will be included in the initial burning restrictions: Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Dakota, Douglas, Hennepin, Isanti, Otter Tail, Pope, Ramsey, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Washington and Wright.
The burning restrictions mean the state will not give out burning permits for burning brush or yard waste.
Spring fire restrictions limit open burning until summer green up occurs. Traditionally, most wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May. More than 95 percent of these fires are caused by human error.
“Because of the high fire incidence during this time period, the DNR initiates burning restrictions to coincide with this annual fire season,” said Larry Himanga, DNR wildfire prevention coordinator.
On April 21, these counties will also be under restrictions: Aitkin, Becker, Cass (that portion south of the Chippewa National Forest boundary), Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Kanabec, Mahnomen, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Polk (that portion south and east of County Road 6 from the Mahnomen County line to state Highway 92 east to the Clearwater County line), and Wadena.
More counties will be added as conditions warrant.
The restrictions normally last from four to six weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs. Spring fire restrictions have resulted in a dramatic decrease in both the numbers and sizes of accidental fires, Himanga said.
Campfires are still allowed. Be sure to watch the fire continuously and make sure it is out and cold to the touch before leaving.
Fire conditions may change quickly over the next few weeks. For more information and maps, and to check fire conditions, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html.