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Burn restrictions set to start Sunday

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By John Myers, Forum Communications Co.

BEMIDJI – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is adding restrictions on campfires and other fires in northwestern and central portions of the state starting Sunday because of worsening drought.

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The DNR will ban camp-fires starting at 1 a.m. Sun-day except in a residential or cabin yard or in a staffed campground, such as at a resort or state park.

The ban also includes brush and debris fires and fireworks outside cities and towns.

The counties included in the fire ban are Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Cass (north of Highway 200), Clearwater, Douglas, Hub-bard, Kanabec, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mah-nomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Ottertail, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau, Stearns, Todd and Wadena.

The state restrictions follow the Superior National Forest, which has banned daytime campfires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Campfires are allowed after 7 p.m.

Some forested areas of the state are more than 6 inches short of rainfall over the summer and early autumn and officials are worried that any fires that start will spread quickly.

The DNR and other wild-fire agencies in the state have brought in additional resources and placed them on a Level 5 alert, the highest planning level. Officials also are urging caution with charcoal fires, which are allowed, and with vehicles that could spur sparks in grassy areas.

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