Dry weather, drought increase wildfire risk across Minnesota

STATEWIDE — Dry weather and drought across Minnesota have created conditions favorable for wildfires this fall. “October is historically one of Minnesota’s most active wildfire months,” said Casey McCoy, DNR wildfire prevention supervisor.

Wildfire risk has increased in northeastern Minnesota, an area that has experienced below-normal rainfall this summer and was in a moderate drought as of early October. Following a hard frost, plants stop taking in moisture and begin drying, creating more available fuel for a wildfire, McCoy said. Additional factors that can quickly fan fall fire flames include low relative humidity and warm, breezy days.

Homeowners and woodland owners working outdoors are often tempted to burn leaves and piles of woody debris, but McCoy encourages alternatives, such as composting.

In addition, heat and sparks from farm implements and heavy equipment can be firestarting sources, as can escaped campfires in the woods and vehicles parked over tall grass.

For updates on current fire risk and burning restrictions, visit www.mndnr.gov/burnrestrictions.

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