DNR lifts burning restrictions

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources lifted  burning restrictions throughout Minnesota due to decreased fire danger because of precipitation and green-up. Burning permits are now available for burning of vegetative materials.

Although the state lifted restrictions, local counties or municipalities may have specific regulations that affect burning. Check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.

Up-to-date fire conditions and burning restrictions can be found on the Web page.

Also, because fire danger can change quickly, DNR foresters are able to restrict burning permits in individual counties whenever conditions warrant. This could occur if there is a dry, windy day where fires could start easily and burn quickly.

The DNR advises anyone doing burning to keep burn piles small, have a water supply nearby and stay with the fire until it is completely out. If fire escapes, the person who started the fire is responsible for the damage and suppression costs.

Burning permits are available through state and federal forestry offices, from local fire wardens or online by paying a $5 fee per calendar year. Online permits need to be activated on the day of the burn.

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DNR determines cause of Palsburg Fire

Fire investigators have determined that the recent Palsburg Fire, which burned more than 4,500 acres of wild lands in Roseau County, originated from a slash pile the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) burned last fall. Slash is branches and other woody debris that remains after a logging operation.

“This shows us, that under current conditions, you can’t be too cautious,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “The state is very dry and we need to take extraordinary precautions with fire.”

Left by the logging operation in November, the DNR burned the slash pile Nov. 25 while the ground was snow-covered. Slash is burned as part of routine fire-prevention efforts and in preparing a harvested site for tree planting.

DNR foresters checked the burned pile in December, found some embers inside but determined they didn’t pose a problem because it was early winter.

Foresters checked the slash pile the week of March 16 and determined the fire was cold.

Almost five months after the pile was originally burned, on April 15, smoke was spotted in the area during a fire-detection flight.

Due to warm temperatures, low humidity and strong winds, the fire spread quickly. The active fire was controlled the next morning, but the Palsburg Fire burned 4,550 acres of mostly pine. No structures were lost or injuries reported. Nearly all the land was DNR-administered forest land; a small portion was tribal land.

Fire investigators, who are currently finalizing their reports, determined that an ember that stayed hot two feet underground in the original slash fire caused the wildfire. An extremely dry spring due to below normal snowfall and lack of rain added to the problem.

The DNR’s Forestry Division will pay the cost of putting out the Palsburg Fire, said the division’s director, Forrest Boe. “After fire investigations, parties responsible for starting a fire are held responsible for paying for fire suppression efforts. The responsible party here is the Division of Forestry,’’ Boe said.

A final cost has yet to be determined.

The DNR plans to ask an independent government agency, with relevant forestry expertise, to conduct a review of this incident. The independent reviewer hasn’t been determined yet

Boe said it is rare for a DNR-burned slash pile to cause a wildfire.

However, the unusual weather conditions, the lack of snowfall and low humidity have led to extreme fire conditions in northwestern Minnesota this spring. The DNR is on high alert when it comes to checking on extinguished fires and others should be as well.

Boe said the DNR will learn valuable lessons from this incident and will implement any new recommended practices immediately. He said he hopes to share those lessons with others in the forestry and fire-prevention community so that incidents like this don’t happen again.

Plans for salvage of the trees left from the Palsburg Fire have already begun. Merchantable trees will be sold for forest products.

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Palsburg Fire Update

The Palsburg Fire remains at 4,550 acres.

Two hand crews, two overhead resources, one contract dozer and a Warroad DNR water tender have worked the fire locating hot spots and smoldering slash piles the past three days.

An IR flight conducted April 23 showed no hot spots on the north end of the fire (which had been the problem area for hotspots). Only one chip pile located in the interior was found to have heat. The chip pile was extinguished with use of the dozer and water tender.

All resources will be re-assigned to aid in initial attack for the Warroad Forestry Area as well as statewide. The fire will continue to be monitored by local resources and detection as needed.

The Thompson Forest Road is currently open to vehicle traffic. However, other roads in the vicinity of the fire (Black’s Winner, Palsburg and Root) still have 1,000-pound road restrictions in place.

Palsburg Fire Update, April 23, 2015,  17:30 by Shane Delaney

Palsburg Fire 4.23.15 2 Palsburg Fire 4.23.15 1

 

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Palsburg Fire Morning Update

This is the last MNICS Team C update on the Palsburg Fire unless circumstances change significantly.

The Palsburg Fire, which began Wednesday April 15 near Warroad, is now 80% contained. Burning on state forest land in the Beltrami Island State Forest, the fire is 4,550 acres.

• Next week’s cooler, wetter weather has reduced the complexity and risk of fire, allowing firefighting resources to be released.

• Two hand crews remain on the incident. No air resources are assigned to the fire, though the Roseau helicopter is available if needed.

• Yesterday, fire resources worked biomass piles and the few hot spots remaining within the fire containment area. Rehabilitation of fire lines is underway.

• Minnesota Incident Management Team C will be transferring management of the fire to the local area Monday morning, April 20.

• Team C wishes to thank fire personnel for their outstanding work on the fire.

• Special thanks to the community for their outpouring of support and cooperation.

Weather: Today’s highs will be in the 40s with high humidity and continued rain. Cool temperatures and precipitation are expected much of the week.

Closure Order: Road closures remain in effect on the following roads in the area of the wildfire: Thompson Road, Wobbles Road, Bemis Hill Road, Tofte Road, and Black’s Winner Road. Contact the Warroad DNR office, 218-386-1304, 804 Cherne Drive NW Warroad, MN for more information.

Cooperating agencies: USFS, Fish & Wildlife Service, NPS, Private, BIA, Roseau FD, Warroad FD, Roseau Sheriff, Minnesota National Guard Black Hawk Helicopters.

Contact: Fire Information 218-386-1304 or Warroad15@gmail.com

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Palsburg Fire Morning Update

The Palsburg Fire is now 60% contained. Burning on state forest land in the Beltrami Island State Forest, the fire held at 4,700 acres in size with no significant growth in area despite yesterday’s strong winds. The fire began Wednesday April 15 near Warroad, MN,

• Both the east and west flanks have had all hot spots extinguished back 150 from the fire lines. These areas are looking good and will be patrolled today to watch for lingering smokes.

• Crews are focusing on the numerous hot spots in the cedar swamp on the north end of the fire area. Known spots are mapped with GPS. A helicopter will survey the area this morning with an infrared detector to locate any new hot spots so firefighters can put them out.

• This area has been difficult to control due to the need to use “light on the land” or MIST (Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics) in consideration of the area’s sensitive high conservation values. MIST achieves fire management objectives consistent with land and resource protection allowing firefighters to suppress wildfires while minimizing the long-term effects of the suppression on the land.

127 people are assigned to the fire, strengthening containment lines, seeking hot spots and mopping up along fire lines. Four engines assisted local agencies in initial attack on new fires yesterday. The two National Guard Blackhawks are available for water drops. Minimal threat to structures remains and there have been no reports of injuries.

Weather: Today’s temperatures will be in the 70s, the humidity will be up to 26% and the winds will be lighter at 10-15 mph with no gusts. Fire behavior is expected to be light today.

Closure Order: Road closures remain in effect to ensure public safety and to allow firefighting efforts to continue safety. The following roads are closed due to the proximity of the wildfire: Thompson Road, Wobbles Road, Bemis Hill Road, Tofte Road, and Black’s Winner Road. Permanent residents wishing to travel to and from their homes on closed roads can be issued a permit. Contact the Warroad DNR office, 218-386-1304,804 Cherne Drive NW, Warroad, MN for a permit.

Cooperating agencies: USFS, Fish & Wildlife Service, NPS, Private, BIA, Roseau FD, Warroad FD, Roseau Sheriff, Minnesota National Guard Black Hawk Helicopters.

Contact: Fire Information 218-386-1304 [note new number] or Warroad15@gmail.com
Check www.MNICS.org for updates.

 

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Palsburg Fire Evening Update

The Palsburg Fire, which began Wednesday April 15 near Warroad, MN, is now 60% contained. Burning on state forest land in the Beltrami Island State Forest, the fire held at 4,700 acres in size with no significant growth in area despite today’s strong winds.

While numerous hot spots remain, there is minimal open flame on most of the fire area. Two new hot spots were detected and extinguished in the lowland cedar on the northeast side of the fire. This area has been difficult to control due to the need to use “light on the land” or MIST (Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics) in consideration of the area’s sensitive high conservation values. MIST achieves fire management objectives consistent with land and resource protection while allowing firefighters to suppress wildfires while minimizing the long-term effects of the suppression on the land.

127 people are assigned to the fire, working to strengthen containment lines, seeking hot spots and mopping up along fire lines. Four engines were temporarily released for Initial Attack on new fires nearby.

The smaller type-three helicopter worked the fire today but is leaving at end-of-shift tonight. The two National Guard Blackhawks may leave late Saturday. Minimal threat to structures remains and there have been no reports of injuries.

Weather: Today’s Red Flag Warning brought temperatures near 70 degrees with a minimum humidity of 15%. Shifting gusty winds increased as the day went on, and gusts will continue into the evening. Cooler and lighter winds are expected tomorrow.

Closure Order: Citizens are encouraged to stay out of the Beltrami Island State Forest due to heavy fire traffic and concerns of wildfire hazards such as snags. Road closures are necessary to ensure public safety and to allow firefighting efforts to continue safety. The Minnesota DNR has closed the following roads in the area due to the proximity of the wildfire: Thompson Road, Wobbles Road, Bemis Hill Road, Tofte Road, and Black’s Winner Road.
Permanent residents wishing to travel to and from their homes on the closed road can be issued a permit by contacting the forest officer at the Warroad DNR office, 218-386-1304, 804 Cherne Drive NW, Warroad, MN for a permit.

Cooperating agencies: USFS, Fish & Wildlife Service, NPS, Private, BIA, Roseau FD, Warroad FD, Roseau Sheriff, Minnesota National Guard Black Hawk Helicopters.

Contact: Fire Information 218-386-1304 [note new number] or Warroad15@gmail.com
Check www.MNICS.org for updates.

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Palsburg Fire photos from April 15, 2015

Palsburg_Fire_Evening_April_15_2015_Tyler_Fishimage1 (1)  Palsburg Fire, April 15, evening. Tyler Fish

Palsburg_Fire_burning_April_15_2015_Tyler_Fish Palsburg Fire burning April 15. Tyler Fish

Palsburg_Fire_April_15_2015_Tyler_Fish_image4 Palsburg Fire flare up, April 15.  Tyler Fish.

Palsburg_Fire_April_15_2015_evening_Tyler_Fish_image1 Palsburg Fire burning in trees, April 15.  Tyler Fish

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Palsburg Fire Morning Update

The Palsburg Fire which began April 15 near Warroad, MN is 30% contained. The fire is at 4,700 acres and continues to burn primarily in State Forest land in the Beltrami Island State Forest and the Bemis Hill State Recreation Area. There are 113 firefighters working the fire, strengthening the containment lines and conducting mop up activities. Three aircraft continue to work the fire, two National Guard Blackhawks and one smaller “type three” helicopter, dropping water on hot spots. There is minimal threat to structures and no reports of injuries.

Weather: Red Flag Warning for today. Temperatures will be near 70 degrees with a minimum Rh of 17-18%. Southwest winds will occur in the morning shifting to the west late morning at 13-15 mph. Early afternoon a cold front is expected bringing northwest winds with gusts up to 35 mph. This evening and tomorrow winds are expected to quiet down.

Closure Order: Citizens are encouraged to stay out of the Beltrami Island State Forest due to heavy fire traffic and concerns of wildfire hazards. Road closures are necessary to ensure public safety and to allow firefighting efforts to continue safety. The Minnesota DNR has determined it necessary to entirely close the following roads in the area due to the proximity of the wildfire. Any permanent residents wishing to obtain permission to travel to and from their homes on the closed road must contact the forest officer at the Warroad DNR office, 218-386-1304, 804 Cherne Drive NW, Warroad, MN. Closed roads include:
• Thompson Road
• Wobbles Road
• Bemis Hill Road
• Tofte Road
• Black’s Winner Road

Cooperating agencies: USFS, Fish & Wildlife Service, NPS, Private, BIA, Roseau FD, Warroad FD, Roseau Sheriff Minnesota National Guard Black Hawk Helicopters.

Contact: Fire Information 218-386-1314 or Warroad15@gmail.com

Check www.MNICS.org for updates.

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Palsburg Fire Evening Update

The Palsburg Fire, burning near Warroad, MN, is 30% contained. The fire is at 4,700 acres and continues to burn. There are 113 firefighters working the fire strengthening the containment lines and conducting mop up activities. There is minimal threat to structures and no reports of injuries.

Closure Order: The State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has determined it necessary to entirely close the following roads in the area due to the proximity of the wildfire. Conditions conducive to wildfire hazards exist and road closures are necessary to ensure public safety and to allow firefighting efforts to continue. Any permanent residents wishing to obtain permission to travel to and from their homes on the closed road must contact the forest officer at the Warroad DNR office, 804 Cherne Drive NW, Warroad, MN. Closed roads include:
• Thompson Road
• Wobbles Road
• Bemis Hill Road
• Tofte Road
• Black’s Winner Road

Weather: Tonight’s weather for Warroad is mostly clear with a low around 36 degrees, WNW winds @ 5-10 mph. Tomorrow – sunny with a high near 73 degrees; breezy with a SW wind at 7-12 mph, west winds in the afternoon at 15-20 mph and a low relative humidity of 18%.
Cooperating agencies: USFS, Fish & Wildlife Service, NPS, Private, BIA, Roseau FD, Warroad FD, Roseau Sheriff Minnesota National Guard Black Hawk Helicopters.

Prevention: Elevated fire danger conditions require extreme caution until green up. Fire managers from the Minnesota Incident Command System (MNICS) are reminding people to avoid burning until after green up, and to check any brush piles recently burned to be sure they are “out cold.”

Unattended piles can rekindle several days or even weeks after they have burned, especially during windy conditions. High, gusty winds, moderate drought conditions and lack of precipitation have created elevated fire danger in over 90 percent of the state.

“Wildland firefighting agencies and local fire departments are actively responding to an above average number of fires this spring,” said William Glesener, Minnesota DNR fire specialist, “We are starting to see a lot of fires statewide that are requiring additional work beyond the initial attack period when most fires are controlled.”

Contact: Fire Information (218)386-1314 or Warroad15@gmail.com

Check www.MNICS.org for updates.

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Over 40 fires April 15; MNICS Team to Palsburg Fire

Minnesota’s wildfire management agencies reported over 40 fires on April 15, burning over 10,000 acres.

The largest is the Palsburg Fire which has burned approximately 6,000 acres. The fire is near Hayes State Park and has burned primarily in Beltrami Island State Forest.  MNICS Type 2 Incident Management Team C, Brian Pisarek, incident commander, is managing the fire.

The team is encouraging people to stay out of Beltrami Island State forest due to heavy fire traffic.  Road barricades are located on the Thompson Road and all secondary forest rods on the north side of Beltrami Island State Forest. #PalsburgFire

Other larger fires April 15:

The Crescent Fire burned 14 acres near International Falls Airport.  Twenty homes/businesses were evacuated briefly yesterday.  The fire is contained, firefighters are mopping up today.

The Turnaround Fire  25 miles northeast of Bemidji started on state land and burned onto federal lands.  At the end of the day, Wednesday, it was 400 acres and  60% contained.

Redby Fire, 40 acres, Red Lake, had evacuations on 4-15.

Tax Day Fire, evacuations 4-15 near Bemidji High School.

Lefse Fire, 160 acres, 25 miles north of Gonvick, MN

Gully Fen Fire near Gully

 

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Palsburg Fire Update

The Palsburg Wildfire is burning about 14 miles Southwest of Warroad, MN.

No structures have burned to date. The fire remains uncontained as of Thursday morning, April 16.

Approximately 6,000 acres have burned, primarily State Forest land in the Beltrami Island State Forest. Some scattered tribally owned land also burned. Little or no privately owned land burned.

The Palsburg Fire began Wednesday afternoon, April 15, a few miles east of Hayes Lake State Park. Winds of 30-40 mph quickly pushed the fire into dense pine forests, where it spread in a northwesterly direction into Bemis Hill State Recreation Area.

Minnesota Incident Management Team C took over management of the fire at 8:00 AM Thursday April 16, under the leadership of Brian Pisarek, Incident Commander.

Citizens are encouraged to stay out of the Beltrami Island State Forest due to heavy fire traffic. Road barricades are located on the Thompson Road and all secondary Forest Roads on the north side of the Beltrami Island State Forest.

Two Blackhawks and one smaller “type three” helicopter are dropping water on the fire. Multiple contract resources are assigned, including dozers, tracked vehicles, and unique resources such as “skidgens”, skidders outfitted with firefighting equipment. Handcrews include two from out of state, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Note: The National Weather Service is simulating tornado watches and warnings today to test the statewide warning communication systems. All counties in Minnesota normally participate in the first drill at 1:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m. These drills are a separate simulation and are not connected with the Palsburg Fire.

PALSBURG FIRE UPDATE
April 16, 2015 noon

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
WARROAD DNR FORESTRY 218-386-1314
Palsburg Fire Information: Warroad15@gmail.com

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Large wildfire near Gully underscores fire danger in northwestern Minnesota

Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT)

Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT)

On Monday, April 6, at about 9:00 a.m., Department of Natural Resources fire crews, along with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Goodridge Fire Department, responded to a wildfire north of Gully, adjacent to the Red Lake Indian Reservation. The fire, known as the Star Fire, burned approximately 807 acres of grass, cattails and a small area of aspen.

A combination of aerial and ground resources worked together to suppress the fire. DNR aerial attack resources from Bemidji, including a helicopter and two single engine air tankers (SEATs), cooled the active fire, which allowed ground crews and tracked vehicles to establish a fire line to clean it up. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

On Tuesday, Grygla DNR forestry staff worked surface peat with hand tools, digging it and mixing it with moist soil. Pockets of surface peat continue to burn, but 8-10 inches of frost is preventing spread deeper into the soil. The DNR continues to monitor the fire daily and will add resources if necessary.

“Dry conditions have created increased fire danger this spring,” said Adam Munstenteiger, Warroad forestry supervisor. “Fires can escape easily and spread rapidly.”

Most of northwestern Minnesota has received less than one inch of precipitation in the last 60 days and all of the state is experiencing moderate drought conditions. Ongoing dry conditions mean the wildfire danger is much higher than normal this early in the year.

The DNR reminds people that open burning restrictions remain in northwestern Minnesota. Under these restrictions, open burning of brush or yard waste is prohibited.

Contact the DNR forestry office in Warroad for information on wildfire danger and burning permits or visit the DNR Web page on fire danger and burning permit restrictions at www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html.

Media contacts: Andy McGuire, Wannaska area forester, 218-425-7793, andy.mcguire@state.mn.us; Adam Munstenteiger, Warroad forestry supervisor, 218-386-1304, adam.munstenteiger@state.mn.us.

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Small fires can be destructive

Fire managers with the Department of Natural Resources urge caution with all fires. As of April 1 there have been 309 wildfires in Minnesota that have burned 2,362 acres.

“Even a small grass fire has the potential to injure people, and cause damage to property and resources,” said Ron Stoffel, DNR wildfire suppression supervisor. “Last week, a small grass fire ended up destroying a homeowner’s garage.”

When the snow melts, some landowners want to burn ditches and fields to get rid of tall, dead grass. People can legally perform these burns with a burning permit from the DNR. But even with a permit, any fire has the potential to be destructive and lead to the loss of outbuildings, homes and natural resources. Small fires can even claim lives.

“Large fires get most of the headlines, and they often cause excessive damage,” said Stoffel. “But we lose more outbuildings and homes to small 1- to 2-acre fires than to big ones.”

With continued dry to moderate drought conditions throughout most of the state, and an early start to spring, Minnesota is likely to see more than the average number of wildfires during the next two months. Low relative humidity and windy conditions increase the risk for damaging fires.

In Minnesota, more fires occur in April than any other month with an average of 775 fires that burn 19,669 acres. Therefore, the DNR restricts burning between snowmelt and vegetation green-up. Right now burning restrictions are in place in most Minnesota counties and will extend to more counties in the coming weeks. Burning restrictions usually last between four and six weeks.

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.

For up-to-date information on fire danger and burning restrictions, visit the DNR website.

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Burning restrictions extend to more northern Minnesota counties

The Department of Natural Resources will extend burning restrictions in parts of north-central and northeastern Minnesota beginning April 1. Under these restrictions, open burning of brush or yard waste is prohibited.

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.

Debris burning is especially dangerous during April and May when most wildfires occur in Minnesota. Restrictions last until sufficient green vegetation forms, normally from four to six weeks.

Minnesota firefighters have already responded to several wildfires this spring. Grass fires can easily burn out of control. On March 23, a landowner burning grass near Cook lost control of a fire and lost a garage. Fortunately, the local fire department was able to save the home.

“Each year, we lose more outbuildings and homes to small 1- to 2-acre fires than to the big 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 at or call their local DNR forestry office to obtain up-to-date information on fire danger and burning restrictions.

Many 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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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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