Burning Restricted As Fire Danger Rises To “Very High” In Bemidji
We’re finally seeing warmer weather in Minnesota, but the snow melt brings dryer conditions, which means an increased risk for wildfires.
Today, the Bemidji Fire Department increased the wild fire risk danger to “Very High” for the area. The fire department reminds everyone that burning permits are required within city limits and can usually be obtained from the fire department or the DNR office. Due to the increased wildfire risks, burning permits will not be available Wednesday, April 24 and possibly Thursday, April 25.
Mike Mischke, Bemidji Fire Department Training Officer, says, “The issue that we have here is that in this time of the year all of our fuels is dry, so the grass isn’t green yet and what we call later fuels, which is taller fuels that would go from a grass fire up into the trees and the canopy, those fuels are all perfectly conditioned to burn right now, and so we can have significant fires where we could burn acres upon acres upon acres, burn homes down and things like that, and that’s why this time of year is so dangerous.”
Burning restrictions around springtime have been in place in Minnesota for about 18 years now. Since then, the Minnesota DNR says they’ve seen far less wildfires, which in turn helps fire fighters put their resources to better use.
Adam Munstenteiger, Mn DNR Northwest Region Forestry Manager says, “Most of the wildfires that are responded to in Minnesota are actually put out by local fire departments, and so when we’re in a position where we’re taking our volunteer fire departments and putting them in a position where they have to go out and respond to wildfires, that’s putting them in harm’s way, and it’s also taking away from their ability to respond to structure fires and vehicle fires and things like that. So it’s really critical that we do everything we can to limit wildfires. Use wildfire safely and responsibly.”
The DNR says full burning restrictions will be in place for most of the northern half of the state by Monday.