Drought Conditions and Heavy Equipment Creates Increased Risk of Wildfires
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging off-road vehicle, heavy equipment, and agricultural operators to be cautious in current dry conditions as they could unintentionally spark a fire.
According to a release, equipment use is a major cause of wildfires every year, but Minnesota’s wildland fire management agencies report an uptick in recent weeks of equipment-caused wildfires due to extremely dry grasses and brush.
“Proper equipment use includes knowing the fire danger condition before you operate and making appropriate adjustments or delays to your planned activities,” said Ben Lang, Bemidji Area Forestry assistant supervisor.
Lang said it takes about 500 degrees to start a wildfire in the summer, and that exhaust systems on both road and recreational vehicles can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees. “Use good judgement, avoid parking or operating in tall grasses or brush where exhaust systems could ignite vegetation, and keep ATVs on the trail,” he said.
Additionally, various farm, construction, logging, welding, and lawn equipment have an assortment of belts, chains, buckets, and blades capable of creating sparks when they hit against rocks or hard surfaces.