Campfires, charcoal banned across Minnesota national forests
Campfires will be banned in Minnesota's national forests starting Friday as conditions continue to be dangerous for wildfires across the northern half of the state.
The Superior and Chippewa National Forests are prohibiting all campfires and charcoal fires and grills in all locations, also banning fireworks, in order to reduce human-caused fires. The restriction includes all types of campgrounds.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also is increasing its fire regulations -- now banning all campfires in wooded areas on state-managed lands between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Fires also are banned in all remote areas.
Campfires on state and private land will be allowed only in developed campgrounds in fire grates from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., said Jean Bergerson, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids. The state also has banned outdoor welding in wooded areas, fireworks on public lands and any brush or debris burning.
Gas cook stoves and grills still are allowed on state and federal lands.
Northern Minnesota continues to see dozens of new wildfires every day, including on Wednesday near Grygla and Kellier in Northwestern Minnesota and Mizpah in Itasca County. Despite cooler temperatures, fires continue to spread rapidly across a region that has seen little precipitation for the past two months. Meanwhile, an entrenched Canadian high-pressure system continues to push very dry air into the Northland, making dead grass and leaves even more vulnerable to fire.
And there's little or no rain in the forecast for the rest of April, with warm, sunny and slightly windier days forecast for the coming weekend.
"It just keeps getting drier. There's no relief in sight," Bergerson said.
Firefighting aircraft from across the country continue to come to Minnesota to aid in the battle, as have ground crews from Michigan, Illinois and now Missoula, Montana.
"We're taking whatever help we can get," Bergerson said. "Our local crews are getting burned-out running to so many fires and then having to work mop-up for days on some."