Restrictions on open burning in 19 counties in central Minnesota go into effect today, according to Minnesota DNR officials.
Rapid snowmelt across much of the state has increased the risk of wildfires, particularly in grassy areas. These fine fuels can ignite easily and spread quickly. This is a cause for concern, according to DNR Fire Prevention Specialist Larry Himanga.
Among the areas with will be under burning restrictions beginning today are Cass County south of the border of the Chippewa National Forest.
The DNR will add counties as the snow cover recedes northward. For those who plan to burn in counties that still allow open burning with a permit, the window of opportunity will be brief. Most of Minnesota will be under restrictions soon, Himanga said.
While debris burning will be curtailed, the use of campfires - if smaller than three feet in diameter and three feet in height - will continue to be allowed. Permits are not required for this type of fire if it meets those conditions and is monitored until the coals are dead out.