Across Minnesota, as well as the entire Northland, spring outdoor recreation activity is increasing. Having the Minnesota fishing opener behind us will only add to that, so the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants all outdoor enthusiasts to be aware of the very high fire danger that exists in the state.

While current burning restrictions do not pertain directly to campfires, those types of fires can also lead to wildfires if not handled responsibly. In fact, the DNR urges everyone to not only limit the use of campfires, but to also use caution with off-road vehicles that could spark and start a wildfire.

According to the DNR, northern Minnesota counties remain under open burning restrictions. Minnesota’s wildland fire management agencies report nearly 900 wildland fires have burned more than 32,000 acres since the beginning of March.

"We want people to enjoy the state forests, state parks and trails, but in a way that doesn’t put themselves, their fellow recreationists and residents, and our firefighters’ in danger,” said Ben Lang, Forestry Division assistant supervisor in Bemidji. “During very dry conditions, any fire that starts has the potential to spread and get out of control very quickly.”

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Here are some tips to help prevent a campfire from turning into a wildfire:

  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Keep the fire within a fire ring and clear all flammable materials within 5 feet of the fire.
  • Before leaving, make sure the fire is completely out: drown with water, stir and repeat – until embers are cold.

When it comes to riding off-road, a couple simple precautions can go a long way:

  • Don’t park recreational vehicles, cars or trucks on dry vegetation.
  • Use an approved spark arrester on all internal combustion powered equipment

Another easy thing everyone can do is visit the DNR's statewide fire danger and burning restrictions page, which provides updated information.

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