New spring burning restrictions from the Department of Natural Resources take effect at midnight tonight in 37 Minnesota counties.
The DNR in recent weeks has taken steps to cut the risks of wildfire, because dry weather and dry, dead vegetation can allow a fire to spread quickly. The DNR is restricting fires, welding and fireworks across much of northern Minnesota and stretching down to the Twin Cities in Anoka County.
Intentional burning is prohibited, and outdoor welding and torches are banned in forest and grass areas. Campfires will still be allowed, but only between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. Officials said campfires must be in a receptacle at a home, resort or established campground. Fireworks are banned outside of cities.
The DNR waters division says precipitation is running as low as half of normal in about a third of the state. Rainfall has been below 20 percent of normal levels across parts of the Iron Range and extending up nearly to the Lake of the Woods and the eastern edge of the Red River Valley.
The new restrictions apply to 37 of the state's 87 counties, including Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Polk (that portion east of County Highway 6 and south of State Highway 92), Pope, Roseau, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, St Louis, Todd, and Wadena.