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High fire danger in MN: Don't light off those fireworks

Any spark could cause a wildfire due to how dry it is across much of Minnesota.

If you plan to light off fireworks to mark Independence Day, be extremely careful. 

Not only for your safety (last year hospitals in Minnesota treated 132 firework injuries and one person died), but the Minnesota DNR says even a spark could cause a wildfire this weekend. 

That's because there's a high fire danger for much of the state for Independence Day weekend. The DNR notes drought conditions continue to expand and an "unintentional spark in these dry conditions could ignite a wildfire."

Casey McCory, the DNR's fire prevention supervisor, urges people to celebrate the Fourth of July without fireworks. Remember, most fireworks are illegal in Minnesota, and fireworks of any kind are not allowed in state parks, state forests or other DNR lands. 

Related: Here's where you can see July 4 fireworks in Minnesota this weekend

There are burning restrictions in place in several north-central Minnesota counties, which means no fireworks can be ignited on "any public or private land outside city limits" and campfires are only allowed in "an established fire ring associated with a residence, cabin, campground or resort," the DNR says, adding that burning permits will not be issued for brush or yard waste. 

The DNR is also urging caution to anyone who plans to have a campfire this weekend as any fire can quickly grow out of control. 

These extremely dry conditions have also led to an increase in the number of fires started by equipment, like by vehicles or UTV exhaust heat igniting tall, dry grasses, McCoy said. 

Since March, Minnesota has seen more than 1,400 wildland fires, which have burned roughly 35,000 acres since March, which is more than a typical year. 

Related: Drought conditions persist in Minnesota with hot temps looming

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