Wildfire Prevention Week is April 17-23
In an effort to increase awareness about outdoor fire hazards, the DNR has declared April 17-23 as Wildfire Prevention Week.
“We want to encourage people to make a special effort to control their fires not only this week, but all year long,” Larry Himanga, DNR wildfire prevention coordinator, said in a news release.
Spring wildfire activity in Minnesota normally begins in the southern portion of the state and moves northward as the snow disappears. Most wildfires occur in the spring, between the time when snow melts and the vegetation turns green.
Spring burning restrictions begin at 8 a.m. Friday for the following area counties: Cass south of the border of the Chippewa National Forest, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd and Wadena.
On average, DNR personnel respond to more than 1,500 wildfires each year. Although the current fire hazard in Minnesota is low to moderate, it quickly can change without adequate spring rain.
For Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing and Wadena counties the fire danger Thursday was listed as moderate — with fires starting easily and spreading at a moderate rate. For Mille Lacs, Morrison and Todd counties the fire danger Thursday was listed as high — with fires starting easily and spreading at a fast rate.
The No. 1 cause of wildfires in Minnesota is escaped debris-burning fires. Himanga encouraged landowners to find alternatives to burning, such as chipping or composting. Otherwise, landowners should check burning restrictions in their area, obtain a burning permit, be careful with their debris fires and remember that piled debris can hold hot coals for several days to several months.