The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has opened many – but not all – of the roads and trails temporarily closed to highway licensed vehicles, commercial vehicles, and off-highway vehicles (OHV) used in Minnesota state forests this spring.
“Until the frost comes out of the roads and trails, the soil stays soft and may be susceptible to damage,” explained Mary Straka, OHV program consultant for the DNR’s Division of Parks and Trails. “Even if the vegetation is dry and burn restrictions are in effect, the roads and trails may not be firm yet. So we ask that riders check out our status reports frequently.”
State forest roads and trails closure status reports are listed on the DNR Web site, www.mndnr.gov, which is updated by 2 p.m. every Thursday and more often when possible. The DNR has posted signs announcing closures at state forest entry points and parking lots. Updates on the status of specific state forest roads and trails are also available from the DNR Information Center, 651-296-6157 or toll-free at 888-MINNDNR (646‑6367), between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Fire Prevention Week is April 18-24
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has declared April 18-24 as Wildfire Prevention Week to increase awareness of outdoor fire hazards.
Normally, spring wildfire activity in the state begins in the metro area and moves north as the snow melts and green-up progresses northward. This year, due to the unusually warm, dry weather, the entire state entered fire season at about the same time.
The vegetation in the fields, swamps and other open areas is dead and dry,” said Larry Himanga, DNR wildfire prevention coordinator. “The fire danger in these areas remains a concern until new vegetation appears. Without adequate spring rain, we’re busy chasing fires.”
The early fire season has stretched thin Minnesota’s wildland firefighters and local fire departments.
Himanga encourages people to make a special effort to check burning restrictions in their areas, to remember to obtain a permit, to carefully control their debris fires and to remember that piled debris can hold hot coals for several days.
To find out about state fire restrictions and other fire information, go to mndnr.gov/forestry/fire . To find out how to obtain a burning permit, visit mndnr.gov/forestry/fire/questions.html
The DNR has already placed additional restrictions on burning activities; limiting campfires in dispersed areas. As always, the DNR encourages landowners to find alternatives to burning, such as chipping or composting.
Every year, DNR Forestry personnel respond to some 1,500 wildfires. Most are caused by careless and unnecessary debris burning. So far this year, DNR firefighters have responded to 705 fires that have burned 15,084 acres.