Parts of State in “Exceptional” Drought; Burning Restrictions Expand
The current drought in Minnesota has been one of the worst some counties have ever seen.
According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, parts of Beltrami, Clearwater, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, and Polk Counties, as well as the Red Lake Nation, are now considered to be in a state of exceptional drought. 2021 is the second-driest year Beltrami County has experienced in the last 127 years, and last month was the driest July in the area during the same period.
With conditions perfect for more wildfires to spread, Gov. Tim Walz has authorized the Minnesota National Guard to assist in firefighting efforts.
In addition, to help ensure public safety and protest natural resources, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is expending their burning restrictions across portions of central and northern Minnesota starting Tuesday, August 17.
The burning restrictions will now cover 34 counties where drought conditions are intensifying. Open burning and some campfires are newly restricted in Mille Lacs, Polk, and the eastern portion of Roseau County. These same restrictions remain in place for Aitkin, Lake of the Woods, Morrison, and Todd Counties.
Allissa Reynolds of the DNR says not to do any burning right now and to be extremely cautious with any other activity where heat or sparks could start a fire.