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Burning restrictions issued for west-central and southwest Minnesota counties

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is restricting open burning due to increased wildfire risk from dry conditions across much of Minnesota

A Bigelow firefighter sprays water on hot spots after fire destroyed outbuildings Wednesday afternoon at 31632 Monroe Ave., north of Bigelow.
A Bigelow firefighter sprays water on hot spots after fire destroyed outbuildings Wednesday afternoon at 31632 Monroe Ave., north of Bigelow.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has set restrictions on open burning due to increased wildfire risk from dry conditions across much of Minnesota.

The move comes three days after a fast-moving grass fire in Wilkin County that left one person dead.

Allissa Reynolds, DNR wildfire prevention supervisor, said Wednesday, Nov. 2, that the restrictions were not linked to the Sunday death in Wilkin County, according to the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which she said she was not aware of, but instead were predicated on widespread dry and windy conditions across Minnesota.

Screenshot 2022-11-02 140754.jpg
Graphic: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Southwestern and west central Minnesota counties affected by the burning restrictions include: Benton, Big Stone, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Pope, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Watonwan, Wright and Yellow Medicine.

The DNR will not issue permits for open burning of brush or yard waste in these counties until the burning restrictions are lifted. Residents should also take care with backyard campfires.

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“Extreme drought conditions in combination with dry fall vegetation, low humidity, and wind make for dangerous fire conditions,” Reynolds said. “Restricting open burning prevents a burn pile from escaping and becoming a wildfire.”

In southwest Minnesota, two buildings were destroyed and a third damaged as high winds spread flames through a rural Bigelow farmstead in Nobles County Wednesday afternoon.

The Bigelow Fire Department was dispatched to 31632 Monroe Ave., at 11:55 a.m. Wednesday. Fire Chief Steve Hohensee said that two buildings were fully engulfed when he arrived on the scene, and a third building had started on fire. The blaze had already begun to spread to the grove, carried by gusty southeast winds.

“The wind was a kicker — the wind and dry conditions,” Hohensee said, back at the fire hall shortly after 3 p.m.

The fire is believed to have started after the wind reignited some trash that residents of the acreage had burned on Tuesday evening.

“The wind stirred it back up and blew it into the little shed,” Hohensee said. “That caught fire and spread to a nearby building, and the wind took it from there into the grove.”

For more information and daily updates on current fire risk and open burning restrictions, visit the statewide fire danger and burning restrictions page of the DNR website at: mndnr.gov/BurnRestrictions.

Julie Buntje and Tim Middagh of the Worthington Globe contributed to this story.

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