REGION- An elevated risk of fires from expanding drought conditions has prompted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to warn residents and visitors in northeastern Minnesota to be very …
REGION- An elevated risk of fires from expanding drought conditions has prompted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to warn residents and visitors in northeastern Minnesota to be very cautious over the July 4 holiday weekend.
The abnormally dry Arrowhead Region was bypassed by recent heavy rains in other parts of the state, leaving fire danger high. An unintentional spark in these dry conditions could ignite a wildfire.
Restrictions on open burning are in effect in the northern portion of St. Louis County, as well as Cook and Lake counties. Campfires are allowed but should be limited to no more than three feet in diameter by three feet high. The ground should be cleared of all combustible material at least five feet from the base of the campfire.
There is also a campfire ban in the Superior National Forest, except for at a limited number of developed campgrounds. Campers should attend to campfires at all times.
Already this year, escaped campfires and fireworks have caused more than 40 wildfires in Minnesota.
“Expanding drought conditions have dried grasses, shrubs, and trees in the area, resulting in increased fire danger,” said Aaron Mielke, Forestry Division assistant area supervisor in Grand Marais. “Please, be extra cautious with personal fireworks and campfires as you celebrate this holiday.”
Mielke notes the current drought conditions are similar to conditions of the high fire years of 2006 and 2011, the latter of which was the year of the 93,000-acre Pagami Creek wildfire.
The DNR offers these additional safety reminders: