Burning restrictions to take effect Monday in central Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has burning restrictions in place over the central part of the state including Stearns County because fire danger is expected to rapidly increase as winds pick up and snow continues to melt.
Other counties included in the initial burning restrictions are as follows: Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Dakota, Douglas, Hennepin, Isanti, Otter Tail, Pope, Ramsey, Sherburne, Todd, Washington and Wright.
The burning restrictions mean the state will not give out burning permits for burning brush or yard waste.
Spring fire restrictions limit open burning until summer green up occurs. Traditionally, most wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May. More than 95 percent of these fires are caused by human error.
“Because of the high fire incidence during this time period, the DNR initiates burning restrictions to coincide with this annual fire season,” said Larry Himanga, DNR wildfire prevention coordinator.
On April 21, these counties will also be under restrictions: Aitkin, Becker, Cass (that portion south of the Chippewa National Forest boundary), Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Kanabec, Mahnomen, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Polk (that portion south and east of County Road 6 from the Mahnomen County line to state Highway 92 east to the Clearwater County line), and Wadena.
More counties will be added as conditions warrant.
The restrictions normally last from four to six weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs. Spring fire restrictions have resulted in a dramatic decrease in both the numbers and sizes of accidental fires, Himanga said.
Campfires are still allowed. Be sure to watch the fire continuously and make sure it is out and cold to the touch before leaving.
Fire conditions may change quickly over the next few weeks. For more information and maps, and to check fire conditions, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry.
Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 21-25
To the anticipation of many, winter is nearing an end. It’s time to start preparing for warmer weather. Along with warmer temperatures, we face the weather hazards which are common during the spring and summer months.
April 21-25 is Severe Weather Awareness Week, a time to remind Minnesotans about inevitable storms, lightning, wind, floods and tornadoes, and to provide people with information necessary to protect their lives when severe weather threatens.
Stearns County’s Emergency Management Department encourages every family and business to take the opportunity during this week to build awareness of storm dangers and to put weather emergency plans into action. “There’s no substitute for practice when the real thing comes along,” said Erin Hausauer, emergency management director.
Subjects for Severe Weather Awareness Week are:
Monday: Alerts and warnings – Learn when and why your community sounds its outdoor warning sirens and what action to take when they are activated. Stearns County’s severe weather warning system video contains often misunderstood information about the outdoor warning siren system. The video can be found on the County’s website and YouTube page. Also, review what action to take if you are driving during a tornado warning. Severe Weather Awareness Week is a great opportunity to talk with your children and elderly parents to ensure they know proper procedures.
Tuesday: Thunderstorms, Lightning and Hail – Every thunderstorm produces lightning. Learn the myths and facts surrounding lightning as well as more on severe storms and hail.
Wednesday: Floods – Spring flooding and flash flooding combine to produce some of the most dangerous and costly disasters in Minnesota. Find an important checklist and learn how to prepare for and respond to flooding.
Thursday: Tornadoes – Review tornado safety information on the website. Two statewide tornado drills will take place on Thursday. The first drill is at 1:45 p.m. and allows schools and businesses to practice their emergency plans. The second drill is at 6:55 p.m. This drill allows families to practice their plans at home.
Friday: Heat – Heat claims more lives each year than any other weather-related event. Learn how to recognize heat-related emergencies.
“It can be difficult to get people to take this topic seriously,” Hausauer said. “But as we see all too often, severe weather does happen, and the consequences can be serious. Dangerous storms are common in Minnesota. That one time it could happen to you.”
Resources, safety and preparedness tips, and other information can be found on the Stearns County website at co.stearns.mn.us.
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