DNR: Use caution when burning or expect to pay the price

A fire that broke out last week northwest of Greenbush, Minn., has been contained at 700 acres, but crews continue working to extinguish burning peat. The incident serves as a reminder for landowners to use extreme caution when burning because of the ongoing dry conditions in northwest Minnesota.

Fire danger is in the “high” category across much of northern Minnesota.

In a news release, the Department of Natural Resources said landowners are responsible for the costs of fighting escaped fires — including those for which burning permits were obtained — and fires that ignite peat.

DNR Forestry offices and local fire departments recently have responded to escaped permit fires and peat fires. It’s dry out there, and all vegetation is very susceptible to catching fire, including green grass and peat.

In a news release, the DNR said a small debris fire or grass fire can quickly become a wildfire and landowners will be responsible for the costs of fighting it and extinguishing all peat.

In other words, that could get expensive in a hurry.

No more than ever, people should be careful when they burn and avoid burning areas they know or suspect to contain peat soils. Fire breaks must be worked up to mineral soil.

Burning permits are required for open burning any time there’s less than 3 inches of snow on the ground. For more information, click here or contact the nearest DNR Forestry office or local township fire warden.

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