With cautious optimism, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Thursday it is adjusting some forest fire restrictions in the state as conditions on the ground improve. Much of the state remains in drought conditions, but recent rains have lessened, but not eliminated, the wildfire risk in northern and central Minnesota.
As of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, September 3, this new directive replaces all previous MNR restrictions on burning, scattered and backcountry camping and mechanized activities with new burning restrictions that are more limited in scope and in geographic extent.
The new Class III restrictions affect the eastern part of Roseau County and all of Beltrami, Becker, Cass, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Ottertail, St Louis and Wadena counties.
These restrictions do not apply to tribal lands. Under these restrictions:
No campfires are permitted for scattered, remote, or backcountry camping on any state, county, or private land. Camping stoves are permitted.
Supervised campfires in established circles of fire associated with a home, cabin, campground or resort are permitted.
No fireworks may be lit on public or private land outside the city limits. Check with your local community for any additional restrictions.
Open-air burning permits are restricted.
The state land closure zones on the Gunflint Trail and around the Greenwood Fire remain in place and are unaffected by the updated burning restrictions.
State-imposed burning restrictions are lifted in 19 counties, with lesser restrictions remaining in 16 counties. These changes reflect a reduction in wildfire risk overall, while also recognizing that wildfire danger remains high in much of northern and central Minnesota. Continued vigilance is necessary to protect the life and property of the Minnesotans.
According to Allissa Reynolds, acting MNR Forest Fire Prevention Supervisor, the rain, cooler temperatures and higher humidity have all helped reduce the risk of wildfires.
“While it’s safe to make these changes now, we’re not totally out of danger,” Reynolds said. “It is important that people continue to follow the restrictions that remain in place and understand that we will expand the restrictions again if conditions indicate this is necessary in the future. “
Forrest Boe, director of MNR’s forestry division, said the public’s efforts to follow wildfire restrictions and stay safe have made a difference.
“We all need to stay alert to the wildfires and focused on safety this holiday weekend and into the fall,” Boe said.
The updated state restrictions were developed in collaboration with the US Forest Service and are consistent with the restrictions for the Upper National Forest, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. DNR restrictions do not apply to tribal lands, where tribal governments may have their own restrictions in place.
The MNR Forest Fire Information web page includes information on all restrictions and a list of affected forests and national parks.