On Thursday August 19, the fire danger in Cass, Crow Wing, Todd and Wadena counties was classified as extreme by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, meaning the fire situation is explosive and may result in significant material damage. This resulted in an order prohibiting open burning, including campfires.
It’s not even a matter of thinking twice before you burn. Don’t burn anything at all – it’s way too dry and it’s been way too windy to risk it. And use caution when handling any equipment or machinery that could start a fire.
Don’t believe us? So please listen to the professionals.
“Do not burn at this time and be extremely careful with any other activity where heat or sparks could start a forest fire,” said Allissa Reynolds, Acting MNR Forest Fire Prevention Supervisor, in a recent report. press release announcing more burning restrictions. Reynolds encouraged the Minnesotans to do their part to prevent wildfires by knowing and following the burning restrictions in their county.
It is not only the loss of property or vegetation that we are concerned about, but also the impact that forest fires can have on our community. It taps into the resources of the firefighters in our region and puts their lives, as well as those of the residents of the region, in danger. We thank the firefighters who respond to forest fires – or any fire for that matter – and do what is necessary to protect us all.
As of this writing, there is rain in the forecast. If this does happen, we hope it rains enough to provide respite from the fire danger. However, it will take more than a few showers to pull us out of the prolonged drought we find ourselves in.
The whole state entered the drought alert phase in mid-July. Conditions have deteriorated across much of Minnesota, particularly northern Minnesota, over the past month, and for the first time since the implementation of the Drought Intensity Classification Scale in 2000, part of Minnesota entered the classification for exceptional drought intensity.
The current drought is not as severe as the historic droughts of 1988-89 or the 1930s, but it is intensifying, the DNR reported.
Under current conditions, it will take at least 5 to 9 inches of precipitation spread over a period of about a month to significantly alleviate the drought.
That’s a lot of rain over a long period of time, and probably wishful thinking.
The bottom line is that now is not the time to burn anything.
This alternative view is the opinion of the editorial board of our sister publication, the Brainerd Dispatch.