MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Department of Natural Resources says the relatively mild winter will likely lead to an early snow melt and therefore a sooner-than-usual start to fire season.

After snow melt occurs – and it could come as early as March for some Minnesota communities – burning restrictions go into effect. These bar residents from burning yard debris until summer green up.

Linda Gormanson, the DNR fire prevention supervisor, said in a press release Thursday that 98 percent of wild fires in Minnesota are caused by humans.

Those fires often start with burning debris.

“Therefore,” she said, “the DNR encourages using alternatives to debris burning such as composting and mulching whenever possible.”

In a typical year, Minnesota sees the most wildfires between April and May.

For more on burning restrictions, click here.