Fire Prevention Week is April 18-24

Friday, April 16th, 2010 at 5:55 am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has declared April 18-24 as Wildfire Prevention Week to increase awareness of outdoor fire hazards.

Normally, spring wildfire activity in the state begins in the metro area and moves north as the snow melts and green-up progresses northward. This year, due to the unusually warm, dry weather, the entire state entered fire season at about the same time.

“The vegetation in the fields, swamps and other open areas is dead and dry,” said Larry Himanga, DNR wildfire prevention coordinator. “The fire danger in these areas remains a concern until new vegetation appears. Without adequate spring rain, we’re busy chasing fires.”

The early fire season has stretched thin Minnesota’s wildland firefighters and local fire departments.

Himanga encourages people to make a special effort to check burning restrictions in their areas, to remember to obtain a permit, to carefully control their debris fires and to remember that piled debris can hold hot coals for several days.

The DNR has already placed additional restrictions on burning activities; limiting campfires in dispersed areas. As always, the DNR encourages landowners to find alternatives to burning, such as chipping or composting.

Every year, DNR Forestry personnel respond to some 1,500 wildfires. Most are caused by careless and unnecessary debris burning. So far this year, DNR firefighters have responded to 705 fires that have burned 15,084 acres.

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