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.

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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.

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“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.

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For more on burning restrictions, click here.