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Be safe, be legal: Permits required for open burning

NEW ULM - As the danger of wild fires increase, area residents are reminded that permits are required for open burning and those permits have limitations, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

An open burning permit is required for any fire larger than 3 feet in diameter and when the ground is not covered by at least 3 inches of snow.

Permission to burn in most south-central and southwestern Minnesota counties is in the form of a paper burning permit issued through the county sheriff. Big Stone, Kandiyohi and Meeker counties also have an Internet based permit option accessible Brown, Freeborn and Renville counties have adopted a recent statute change allowing their citizens to get permission to burn by calling the county sheriff.

“What you can and can’t burn is pretty simple,” according to DNR Fire Supervisor Tom Romaine. “If it’s not natural, untreated, vegetative material, it cannot be burned.”

Romaine explained that open burning is pretty much limited to trees, tree trimmings, brush and clean, unpainted, untreated lumber. Unacceptable materials include oils, rubber, plastics, tires and chemically treated materials such as railroad ties, treated lumber, composite shingle, tar paper, insulation, composition board, sheet rock, wiring, paint, hazardous materials and industrial solid waste; most household garbage falls into this category.

Illegal burning is a misdemeanor, but bigger financial penalties often result from loss of property, proper disposal of burnt materials and firefighting expenses.

Any suspected unauthorized or illegal fires should be reported by dialing 911.

“The best policy is, if in doubt, report it,” Romaine said. “An early report of a fire enables a quicker response and helps to keep fires small.”

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Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

(320) 214-4335