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Homeowners urged to complete open burning activity

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

-- Minnesota homeowners are being encouraged to complete necessary open-burning activities now, because annual restrictions on open burning will take effect soon.

Warm weather is expected to melt much of the accumulated snow in the next few weeks. That will expose last year's leaves and other yard waste. The DNR says the safest way to dispose of yard waste is to recycle or compost it.

Homeowners who choose to burn yard waste should try to accomplish that while snow is still on the ground. Three inches or more of continuous snow cover drastically reduces the chance a fire will escape and burn unintended areas. A DNR burning permit is not required under snow-covered conditions, but local city and municipalities may regulate debris burning. The DNR reminds homeowners to keep safety first when disposing of yard waste.

Spring fire restrictions that soon take effect will drastically limit open burning until summer green-up occurs. Traditionally, the highest number of wildfires occurs during the months of April and May. More than 95 percent of these fires are caused by human error.  Because of the high fire incidence during this time period, the DNR initiates burning restrictions to coincide with this annual fire season.

The restrictions are weather-dependent, and normally last from four to six weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs. Past experience with spring fire restrictions has shown a dramatic decrease in both the numbers and sizes of accidental fires.

By completing burning now, homeowners can reduce the potential for an escaped fire. If an escaped fire requires the DNR or a fire department to put it out, the homeowner is responsible for the costs.

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