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Burning restrictions expanded because of drought, wildfire

To help ensure public safety and protect natural resources, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources expanded burning restrictions on Tuesday. Burning restrictions will now cover 34 counties where intensifying drought has elevated the potential for devastating wildfires, including Carlton County and 13 other counties.

The burning restrictions include the following:

-No campfires are allowed for dispersed, remote, or backcountry camping on all lands.

- No campfires (with or without a ring) are allowed on any DNR-managed lands. This applies to all campsites, cabins, picnic and other day-use areas. Camp stoves are permitted.

-On non-DNR-managed lands, attended campfires or recreational fires may be allowed in established fire rings associated with an occupied home, cabin, campground, or resort. Check with the site manager for possible additional restrictions.

-No fireworks may be ignited on any public or private land outside city limits.

-The state will not issue burning permits for brush or yard waste.

Prescribed burning is prohibited on private lands, and the use of welding devices and other torches is prohibited when in proximity to combustible vegetation. Only gas or propane camp stoves are allowed when camping. Gas and charcoal grills are allowed at occupied homes, cabins and resorts. Charcoal and gas fires must be in devices designed for grilling.

“Don’t do any burning right now, and be extremely cautious with any other activity where heat or sparks could start a wildfire,” advised Allissa Reynolds, DNR acting wildfire prevention supervisor. She encourages Minnesotans to do their part to prevent wildfires by knowing and following the burning restrictions in their county.

Most of Carlton County is currently in a moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor; the southeast corner is only designated abnormally dry.

Editor's note: This is a longer version than appeared in the print edition.