Spring burning restrictions take effect this week in much of Minnesota

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has restricted debris burning in parts of northwest, central and metro Minnesota this week. Restrictions began Wednesday, March 25 for many counties.  Additional counties will be added later.

Burning restrictions mean the state will not allow the open burning of brush or yard waste. Debris burning is especially dangerous during April and May when most wildfires occur in Minnesota.

Spring burning restrictions coincide with increasing fire potential throughout much of the state due to the early snow melt and dry fuels like grass and leaves. With the snow gone, exposed dead grass and brush can light easily and fires can spread quickly. Restrictions last until sufficient green vegetation forms, normally from four to six weeks.

“The spring fire restrictions have resulted in a dramatic decrease in both the number and size of accidental fires,” said Ron Stoffel, DNR wildfire suppression supervisor.

Counties can be quickly added to the restrictions list during dry, windy days when fires could easily burn out of control. Therefore, residents are encouraged to visit the burning restrictions Web page or call their local forestry office to obtain up-to-date information on fire danger and burning restrictions.

In addition, many local counties and municipalities have specific burning regulations or restrictions. Check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.

The burning restrictions do not apply to campfires; they are still allowed. Clear an area around the campfire, watch it continuously and make sure it is out and cold to the touch before leaving.

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Minnesota DNR alerts public to spring burning restrictions

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will soon determine when to start spring burning restrictions. This year, with little snowpack and an early start to spring, restrictions are likely to take effect earlier, maybe as soon as next week. 

The DNR restricts burning shortly after snow melt when exposed dead grass and brush can ignite easily and burn quickly. The restrictions normally last from four to six weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs.

“The spring fire restrictions have resulted in a dramatic decrease in both the numbers and sizes of accidental fires,” said Ron Stoffel, DNR wildfire suppression supervisor.

Fire danger can vary greatly from one part of the state to another. Locally determining when the restrictions take effect enables the DNR to restrict burning in areas where fire risk is elevated.

Restrictions mean the state will not issue burning permits for burning brush or yard waste.  Debris burning is especially dangerous during April and May, when most wildfires occur in Minnesota.

Residents may need to find alternatives to burning or wait until after green-up when it is safer to burn. Prior to burning, the DNR urges people to check the statewide fire danger and burning permit restrictions.

Finally, the DNR notes that many local areas, counties or municipalities have specific burning regulations or restrictions. Residents should check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.

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Register now for Minnesota Wildfire Academy

Academy Cover Learn more about wildland firefighting, power saws, aircraft and many other aspects of wildfire at the 2015 Minnesota Wildfire Academy.  The academy will take place June 1-5 at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

The Minnesota Wildfire Academy features over 25 courses in wildland firefighting and fire support.  Courses run from the half-day Look Up, Look Down, Look Around course to five full days for the Basic Firefighter course and the Helicopter Crew Member course.  Fees range from $30 to $200 based on length of the course and materials.

This year’s featured speaker is Pete Leschak. He will talk about high reliability organizations which are high-functioning teams that routinely face the possibility of catastrophic error in dangerous environments, yet have fewer accidents than might be expected.  Leschak will speak at Davies Auditorium on Wednesday, June 3 at 6:30 pm after a pizza dinner.

Students from MNICS agencies have priority in registration until April 17, 2015.  After that, registration is open to everyone.  The deadline for all registrations is May 12, 2015.

This year, the Academy will hold some seats for Minnesota fire department members.  Volunteer Fire Assistance grants are also available.

Click here for the Minnesota Wildfire Academy brochure.

 

 

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