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August 20, 2014

Minnesota still below average for wildfires

Minnesota has had about 300 more wildfires than last year, but the state’s 997 blazes so far are still below average, which is about 1,500, according to Department of Natural Resources data.

Last year’s 706 fires marked the lowest number of wildfires in the last 35 years in the state, according to the DNR.

But dry conditions have officials worried about the fall, Northland’s Newscenter reports. Dry conditions have made the state ripe for fires, the Star Tribune reported this week.

The U.S. Forest Service this summer issued a directive to fire managers to more quickly attack wildfires, MPR recently reported. That’s a shift in policy from letting smaller fires burn themselves out.

So far this year, no single fire has been as notable as the Pagami Creek fire that gobbled up tens of thousands of acres of forest in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area last year. That fire was part of a nationwide trend toward bigger, more extreme wildfires, MPR reported.

MPR also has a slideshow of new growth after the Pagami Creek fire.