In Unusual Step, DNR Warns Of Winter Fire Threat

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is taking an unusual step for late December — warning of the fire danger.

Because of the snow drought across most of the state, grasses and brush that are usually covered with snow are now freeze-dried. So the DNR is asking people to be careful with fire, to check old fires for possible rekindling, and to make sure they get a burning permit before burning vegetation.

On Monday, 750 acres burned through wooded areas near the northwestern Minnesota town of Gully, in Polk County. That fire was contained. But fighting fires in the winter is difficult. Cold weather raises the risks of frostbite and freezing pumps.

With the exception of Cook County in northeastern Minnesota, burning permits are now needed for debris and vegetation burning.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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