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DNR: Early Warm, Dry Weather Likely Means Early Fire Season

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- This year's early warm weather is creating perfect conditions for wildfires, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR predicts Minnesota will see more fires than average during the spring season. Parts of the state are under restrictions for open burning that will probably go on until end of the week.

Division of Forestry spokesperson Lisa Wagner said on Monday that many people think a warm-up after a snowmelt is the perfect time to burn up their brush piles, but it is actually the worst time for an open burn. Wagner said that dead grass and brush catches fire faster, especially with high winds and dry weather.

"A lot of the fires we respond to start because people are lighting their brush piles to clean up after the winter," Wagner said.

Wagner said her crews responded to three large grass fires over the weekend in the north Twin Cities metro because nearby homeowners were not following the rules.

"Some were burning things at the wrong time of day or burning things that aren't allowed to be burned like boxes and garbage," she said.

Wagner said the best time to burn a brush pile in the yard is actually during the winter, before all the snow melts or during the summer, when there is more moisture in the air and in the grass.

The DNR said even if people have a permit to conduct open burns, the state can still issue an open burn restriction, so it is important to check the DNR web site to see which counties are under restrictions before burning anything.

For more on fire conditions and burning restrictions, visit the DNR's website.

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