The Department of Natural Resources announced this week it will restrict open burning for much of the state in compliance with Governor Tim Walz’s executive orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the announcement:
- For the health and safety of all Minnesotans, the DNR is proactively moving to burning restrictions immediately after snowmelt to reduce potential for wildfire and emergency response
- Burning restrictions apply to 62 counties where DNR administers open burning. The state will not activate burning permits in these counties until restrictions are lifted (small recreational fires or campfires are allowed)
- The DNR is in contact with the 25 southwest counties that determine their own burning restrictions regarding whether they want to be included in these burning restrictions
- The DNR will grant variance permits only for agricultural field and construction site preparation and limited prescribed burning. For information, contact a local DNR Forestry Office
- The agency is working to reduce additional risks and stressors on the emergency response network to assure maximum availability for COVID-19 response
- Burning permit information by county can be found here
This year’s spring wildfire season coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency response. Wildfire danger increases in April and May, as snow melts and vegetation dries. According to the DNR, these cautionary measures are being put into place for the health and safety of Minnesotans, including the health of firefighters, who cannot maintain social distancing while responding to wildfires.