Minnesota burning restrictions set to begin in several counties

Several counties throughout Minnesota will have restrictions placed on permitted burning beginning on March 18.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), open burning of vegetative debris will be restricted due to increased wildfire risk resulting from unusually warm temperatures and exceptionally dry conditions.

The DNR will not issue permits for open burning of brush or yard waste in these counties until restrictions are lifted in the following counties: Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Mahnomen, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Norman, Otter Tail, Pine, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Sherburne, St. Louis County (southern half), Stearns, Stevens, Todd, Traverse, Wadena, Washington, Wilkin, and Wright.

"This year, we’ve seen an early start to our wildfire season due to exceptionally warm winter temperatures and less than half the average snowfall across much of the state," Karen Harrison, DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist said in a statement. "Spring burning restrictions help reduce the number of wildfires, especially those caused by debris burning."

In early March, crews battled a large fire in Waseca that burned around 1,000 acres before crews contained the blaze.

According to a press release, Harrison encourages residents to use alternatives to burning to dispose of yard waste, such as composting, chipping, or taking brush to a collection site.

People cause over 90% of wildfires in Minnesota, according to the DNR, and burning restrictions will be adjusted as conditions change.