Spring burning restrictions to begin March 29 in Chisago and Kanabec Co.

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 at 6:48 am

Due to rapid snowmelt across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that open burning restrictions will start in 25 counties at 8 a.m. on March 29.

The counties include: Aitkin, Anoka, Benton, Cass, Crow Wing, Chisago, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Washington, Wright, and the south half of Beltrami.

Dry conditions have increased the risk of wildfires, particularly in grassy areas which can ignite easily and spread quickly.

“The lack of snow on the ground allows the vegetation to dry out much faster, which increases the likelihood for a fire to start,” said Larry Himanga, DNR fire prevention specialist. “The rapid snow melt has drastically increased the risk for wildfires.”

Additional counties will be added shortly, as the snow cover recedes further north. For those who plan to burn in counties that still have open burning, the window of opportunity will be brief. Soon most of Minnesota will be under restrictions.

Once restrictions are in place, special permits will only be written for extenuating circumstances. This may include time sensitive construction projects and prescribed burning conducted by professional firefighters. The DNR encourages the use of composting, recycling, and chipping as alternatives to burning.

While debris burning will be curtailed, the use of campfires, if smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height, will continue to be allowed. Permits are not required for this type of fire if it meets the above conditions and is monitored until the coals are dead out.

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