Wednesday marks the start of spring burning restrictions for most of Minnesota, to limit the risk of wildfires after a drier than usual winter.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says that the open burning of brush or yard waste will not be allowed in counties in parts of northwestern, southern and central Minnesota, with more counties to follow at the beginning of April.
Campfires will still be allowed during this time, but the DNR is urging people to clear an area around the fire and make sure it is out and cold to the touch before leaving.
It comes after a winter that has seen snowfall well below average, plunging the majority of Minnesota into "moderate drought" and increasing the risk of fire.
The restrictions will last until the current dry grass and brush is sufficiently green, which the DNR says usually takes four to six weeks.
"The spring fire restrictions have resulted in a dramatic decrease in both the number and size of accidental fires," said Ron Stoffel, DNR wildfire suppression supervisor.
The DNR says more counties could be added to the restrictions list on particularly dry and windy days, so people should check with local forestry offices or consult the DNR website to find up-to-date information.