Spring is a welcomed event in Minnesota. It is only natural that we spend more time outdoors as the weather conditions improve and temperatures rise. Spring is also prime for wildfire activity, so it is critical to not let our guard down as we head outside.
The snow has melted, leaving behind dry grass, leaf litter and, debris. This dry material acts like fuel that can quickly turn a small fire into an escaped wildfire. What may seem like a harmless debris cleanup or an evening campfire, can easily escape. Escaped wildfires threaten property and can result in injuries, or worse. “Every year we get reports of people suffering with burns from an escaped fire because they thought they could control the fire on their own,” said Ron Stoffel, Minnesota Interagency Fire Center. “These injuries are preventable. If your debris burn or campfire escapes, or you spot a wildfire, call 911 immediately,” advised Stoffel.
Despite the cool, damp conditions we saw throughout the state last week, the risk of wildfire remains high. Over the next couple days, weather conditions in northern Minnesota are expected to be dryer, increasing the potential for peak wildfire activity in dry grasses and pine needles. Minnesota Interagency Fire crews are prepared for this spring wildfire season and are ready to help where needed.
As you head outside to enjoy this spring weather, please be careful with any open fires. Campfires can be enjoyable, and following these tips can help prevent a wildfire:
- Keep flammable material at least three feet from open flames.
- Attend to your campfire at all times.
- Keep a handy source of water ready.
- Stir the ashes until the campfire is completely out.
Should an open fire escape, never hesitate to call 911. Trained firefighters would rather suppress a wildfire safely, then learn about a preventable injury or worse yet, a loss of life. Remember, prevention is key, and knowing when to call for help can prevent unnecessary harm.