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Minnesota Wildfire Prevention Week Starts Sunday

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(credit: Wilderness Canoe Base Staff)

(credit: Wilderness Canoe Base Staff)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Sunday marks the start of Wildfire Prevention Week in Minnesota.

Larry Himanga, wildfire prevention coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources, encourages people to make a special effort to control their fires not only this week, but all year long. The No. 1 cause of wildfires in Minnesota is debris-burning fires that escape.

Spring wildfire activity normally begins in southern Minnesota and moves northward as the snow disappears. Most wildfires occur in the spring, between the time when snow melts and the vegetation turns green. DNR personnel respond to more than 1,500 wildfires every year.

Official wildfire prevention efforts in Minnesota began after the Great Hinckley Fire of 1894, which killed 418 people and destroyed the town of Hinckley and nearby communities in east-central Minnesota.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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