Minnesota wildfire season starting early, DNR warns

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is warning of an early start to the wildfire season.

With the lack of snow and a record-warm winter, the DNR says wildfire conditions are months ahead of schedule. The DNR has responded to 45 wildfires in the past week and a half that have covered approximately 545 acres of land. 

The majority of the state is currently under some sort of fire danger risk. Southern Minnesota, and a portion of the metro, is considered a "very high" risk for fires starting more easily and spreading at a fast rate. Central areas of the state are considered a "high" and "moderate" risk of fires spreading.

Last year, Minnesota had 813 wildfires covering more than 8,600 acres. Meanwhile, Texas is currently battling a series of wildfires that have burned over 1 million acres. The fires are creating a lot of smoke that is heading north to Minnesota on Feb. 29. The fire started in the Texas panhandle on Monday and is already the second-largest wildfire in the state’s history.

The DNR warns that since over 90% of wildfires are caused by humans, it's important to pay attention to the fire risk that can change day by day and be especially careful when having an outdoor fire or using equipment that could spark a fire.

Open burning is currently prohibited in Pine County due to the current conditions, but campfires are still allowed. Meanwhile, the majority of the state requires permits to burn, and the Twin Cities metro area requires a variance permit. 

Image 1 of 2

Minnesota fire danger map for Feb. 29, 2024. (Credit: Minnesota DNR)

From: Supplied