DNR urges caution while burning fall yard debris

Northwestern and central Minnesota have elevated fire danger due to sparse rain, high winds and lack of humidity. This means that open burning may be restricted in certain counties. The Department of Natural Resources urges Minnesotans to use caution while burning yard waste or leaf piles outdoors and to check the burning permit website for information. 

“During fall, we know that residents and property owners will be taking care of leaf and brush piles,” said Casey McCoy, DNR wildfire prevention supervisor. “Piles can smolder undetected for several weeks under the right conditions. Windy, fall days can reignite these piles.”

On average, Minnesota issues approximately 43,250 burn permits annually. When weather conditions warrant it, state fire team leaders may turn burning permits on or off. To determine whether burning is allowed, Minnesotans should regularly check their county burning restrictions. Residents may need to find alternatives to burning such as composting or hauling brush to a collection site or wait until it is safer to burn.

“If you do decide to burn yard waste or leaf piles, do so when there is less wind,” said Linda Gormanson, burning permit coordinator. “Instead of burning your yard waste and potentially causing a wildfire, compost or chip your yard waste or bring it to a collection site.”

Burning restrictions do not apply to campfires; they are still allowed. Clear an area around the campfire, watch it continuously and make sure it is out cold to the touch before leaving.

Fire danger can change quickly. Check the Minnesota Incident Command System site https://goo.gl/W686km for fire behavior conditions. For questions about burning restrictions, check the DNR page at mndnr.gov/burnrestrictions or call your local Forestry office.