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Extreme Sports: Fire Danger Up North

April 29, 2010

Wildfire danger reaches ‘extreme’ level in northern Minnesota

Due to a long stretch of dry weather, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has increased fire danger levels to the highest possible for the northern half of the state.

On Wednesday, the DNR set danger levels at “extreme” for all counties north of Traverse, Stearns and Pine counties.

An “extreme” danger level means “the fire situation is explosive and can result in extensive property damage,” according to DNR literature, which adds that fires “start quickly, spread furiously and burn intensely” under such conditions. A middle section of the state — including Ramsey and Hennepin counties — remains at a “very high” level of fire danger, meaning fires can start easily and spread quickly.

While open burning is prohibited in those areas, campfires are still allowed for all but Cook County in the northeastern corner of the state, but only from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. and in a fire receptacle with a source of water nearby.

So far this year, the state has had nearly 1,000 wildfires covering more than 22,300 acres.

Rest of the story at Pioneer Press.

This is an interesting story and graphic, because it’s not supported by the DNR website.  At least not at the moment.  We’re in the southern part of the state, so it’s mostly all the same to me, but I’m a bit concerned about the conflicting information.

New Open Burning restrictions were imposed effective 23 April 2010, for certain counties in central and northern Minnesota consistent with those noted in the story:

However, the DNR state-wide Fire Danger map for 4/29/2010 (c)MNDNR shows the entire state in a consistent “High” category.

My point is not how bad wildfire danger is in one part of the state or another. As I said, we know what the message is for Southwest Minnesota, and you should check out your community’s status yourself.

My concern is more about communication.  It’s not real good when public sees a hazard described one way in the media, then another way when (if) they check up on it.  We need to tell our All Hazards story, and tell it to the public straight.


From → Natural Hazards

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