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|Paynesville Press - April 16, 2003|
Burning ban takes effect in Meeker County
A burning ban is in effect in Meeker County, while burning restrictions are in effect in Kandiyohi and Stearns counties.|
The Meeker County Sheriff's Office issued a burning ban for the county on Friday, April 11. According to Sheriff Mike Hirman, fire departments across Meeker County have been exhausted by battling grass fires, some of which have spread to buildings and have come close to burning down houses. Burning trash in barrels will also not be permitted in Meeker County until sufficient moisture falls.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has implemented burning restrictions over much of central and northern Minnesota in an effort to reduce the number of wildfires caused by burning vegetative debris and to reduce personal property damage.
Snowfall throughout Minnesota was well below average this winter, and many areas experienced fires into January. So far, 966 grass fires in Minnesota have burned 82,139 acres.
Historically, 80 percent of all wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May, according to Olin Phillips, fire protection manager for the DNR.
Data indicates that most spring wildfires originate from the burning of yard debris, Phillips noted. "The DNR is asking residents to use alternative methods of debris disposal, such as recycling, composting, or chipping," said Phillips.
For necessary burning, a permit is required. Residents can apply for variances for proscribed projects - including approved ag practices - at DNR forestry division offices.
No burning permits will be issued for piled vegetative debris.
First restrictions are in effect in in 58 counties, including Kandiyohi and Stearns. The fire restrictions should be lifted when vegetation greens up and safe burning conditions prevail.
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