Rhonda Silence

DNR to enact fire restrictions early this season

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced that although the current fire danger rating for Cook County is low, that could change quickly as snow melts. The DNR is enacting fire restrictions earlier this year, as well as making other changes related to COVID-19.

Burn permits are required anytime there is less than 3 inches of snow covering the ground. As of April 3, burning is allowed if a property owner has a place with that much snow. But extreme caution is encouraged.

And DNR Forester/Firefighter Aaron Mielke of Grand Marais warns property owners that restrictions will go in place soon.

There are some Minnesota counties with burn restrictions already in place as a proactive measure to prevent wildfires. As it always does, the DNR hopes to reduce wildfires. This year there are heightened concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DNR wants to limit DNR staff and civilian interactions.

The DNR is taking steps to protect its volunteer Fire Wardens as well. Effective immediately, and until further notice, the citizens who provide burn permits—at their home or a local business—will no longer issue burning permits.

Variances may still be issued on a case-by-case basis by the Grand Marais DNR Forestry office, but for the general public, once the snow melts, no burn permits will be issued.

Anyone with questions may contact DNR Forester Aaron Mielke at 218-387-6031.