The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has classified the entire state, with the exception of far southeastern counties, as being in high fire danger. Open burning restrictions will go into effect the morning of April 5 for most of northern Minnesota including Cook, Lake and northern St. Louis counties.
In the meantime, the DNR is cautioning that open fires under existing conditions are very dangerous, despite recent rainfall. Although campfires do not require a burning permit, they must always be attended and kept to 3 feet in diameter. Unattended campfires are likely to escape and spread rapidly.
According to Ron Stoffel, DNR wildfire suppression supervisor, “Until the growth of new grass appears, the humidity begins to climb to summertime levels, and adequate precipitation is received, restrictions will remain in place.”
The elevated danger condition means, high-intensity burning may develop on slopes, or in concentrations of fine, dry fuel. Fires may become serious and difficult to control unless attended to when they are small. Stoffel said the “green-up” could take six or more weeks. He added, “Many small fires have already popped up due to the standing dead vegetation that is everywhere this time of year.”
Currently burning permits are required locally. Most of the central counties are already under burning restrictions and southern St. Louis and Carlton counties are under a total burning ban – including campfires.