Burning permits (which are needed to burn anything in area townships) and prescribed burns will be restricted statewide, stated Paul Peterson, DNR fire supervisor for the East-Central Minnesota region. He added, "Low humidity, abnormally high temperatures, dry conditions and wind have resulted in fires throughout the state." The most notable have been 1000 acres plus three structures in the Hinckley area; 9,700 acres and three homes in the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area; and 20 acres in the Moose Lake area.
"Anything that can cause a spark can cause a fire in these conditions," said Peterson. The DNR news release went on to say that many fires are being started by equipment. For instance, a combine in Little Falls started a fire that burned 80-plus acres Thursday, Oct. 19. Equipment such as vehicles, agricultural equipment, and all-terrain vehicles can all cause sparks.
Finally, Peterson noted, "It is not a burning ban, but we are asking people to use extreme caution."
Paynesville Fire Chief Jim Freilinger did issued a burning ban on Friday, Oct. 13. "There should be no burning of any kind until further notice," he said.
Homeowners should not burn any leaves on the ground or from a burning barrel. With the dry conditions, burning in barrels will not be permitted until sufficient moisture has been received. Fires have started by using burning barrels for burning trash.
In addition, all existing burning permits are now invalid. Any permit that was issued and has not expired will be invalid, said Meeker County Sheriff Hirman. As with all previous bans, there will be no new burning permits issued until the burning ban is lifted.
The burning bans will stay in effect until significant rainfall has occurred.
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