DNR says wildfire threat in western MN 'high,' rising across the state


After a deluge of rain flooded parts of southern Minnesota in June, a drought seems to have crept back in around the state, leading to the threat of wildfires in western Minnesota.

The Department of Natural Resources released a map Thursday indicating that most of that portion of the state is in a "high" fire danger rating.

DNR forestry areas with the highest fire potential are Bemidji, Park Rapids, Backus, Little Falls, Sandstone, and lands north of Cambridge and south of Cloquet, reports the Osakis Review. Continuing warm dry weather could expand the area of concern to the Arrowhead region in northeastern Minnesota where lightning ignitions could become more likely if thunderstorms develop with light rain.

While Minnesota has had relatively few wildfires this summer, a predicted dry spell for the next week or so could change that quickly, reports the Associated Press.

Eighty-one percent of Minnesota is now abnormally dry or worse, KSTP-TV reports, up from 32 percent from last week. And 10 percent of Minnesota is now in drought, up from less than 2 percent last week.

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DNR requiring burn permits for most of Minnesota

Fire officials are concerned with the extremely dry conditions and the potential for a dangerous fire season this spring. The Star Tribune reports the DNR began requiring permits for open burning this week because of the lack of snow cover. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows most of Minnesota is experiencing some degree of drought.