An active wildfire season necessitates more limitations in northeast Minnesota

Abdi Isaaq

ST. PAUL, MN - Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, is urging limits on mechanized operations and dispersed camping as wildfire conditions continue to deteriorate in the state.

Dispersed camping in state forests and backcountry camping in state parks will be restricted beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 30, in the northern section of St. Louis County and all of Lake, Cook, and Koochiching counties (link is external), except the four approved backcountry sites at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., DNR-managed lands in these counties will also be closed.

"The extended, extreme wildfire season means we need to greatly reduce human activities that could spark a fire to help protect life and property," Allissa Reynolds, DNR acting wildfire prevention supervisor, commented. "We are asking for residents, visitors and business owners to join us in this challenging fight to prevent and suppress wildfires in the face of persistent drought conditions."

Any mechanical action that could cause a fire on DNR-managed property is prohibited, including:

- On the landing, trees are harvested, and logs are processed.

- Grass and brush cutting and clearing

- Grading of roadways

- Adornment (sharpening) On hardtop highways, road grader blades

- Preparation of the ground for the planting of trees, shrubs, or grass (e.g. roller choppers, anchor chains, and rock rakes)

- Top harvesting for ornamental purposes

- Outside of a designated mine or pit, blasting activities

- Welding, which involves the use of acetylene torches or other open-flame devices to cut metal or rock

- Metal and rock grinding

- Parking trucks and machinery in dense greenery and tall grass

Exceptions to these rules are:

- Hauling cut forest products is allowed 24 hours a day.

- Equipment and gravel crushers working in a pit.

- Equipment used for emergency response or fire suppression

"We understand the impact this summer's fire situation and associated state and federal restrictions are having on local businesses, visitors, and residents," Forrest Boe, DNR Division of Forestry director, stated. "We don't take these decisions lightly and, when conditions allow, we will ease restrictions. In the interim, we appreciate people's support as we all work through this dangerous wildfire season together."

All previous burn and campfire prohibitions remain in effect for both public and private areas. There is also a list of affected state forests, parks, and recreation sites on the DNR's wildland fire information webpage.

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