From the Minnesota DNR

Minnesota fire restrictions St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties (2007-08-15)

Due to the severe drought conditions that continue to plague northeastern Minnesota, additional fire restrictions are necessary for Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties.

The lack of precipitation and increased fire danger has prompted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Superior National Forest, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prohibit open burning, use of campfires, and use of certain open flame devices within forested or grassland areas.

The tightened fire restrictions will be effective beginning Friday, Aug. 17, at 8 a.m. for Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties. Until further notice, the following fire restrictions will be enforced:

· no open burning permits, including the use of burning barrels within Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties

· campfires, recreational fires and charcoal fires are prohibited, except within one mile of Lake Superior, where campfires may be allowed after 6 p.m. up to midnight provided they are within a patrolled campground or resort, and are in a designated fire receptacle designed for such use; in addition, campground or resort managers must conduct a final patrol to make sure all fires are extinguished

· use of welding, acetylene torches or other devices with open flame is not allowed within forested areas, except under a special authorization.

People with questions about the fire restrictions within their county should contact their local fire management agency.

"It is extremely important that everyone helps to reduce wildfire risks and comply with these tightened fire restrictions to protect public safety and our natural resources," said Teresa Maday, public information officer for the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids.

The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center asks people to report any suspected unauthorized fires by dialing 911. The best policy is, "If in doubt, report it."

An early report of a fire enables a quicker response time and helps to keep fires small, Maday said. When reporting a fire, people should provide complete, detailed information, especially their name, phone number and the fire location, which is extremely important. Those in areas without 911 service, and who must call long distance to report a fire, should call collect.

From this information, the dispatcher will dispatch equipment and firefighters to the fire location. Accurate information will help determine how many firefighters and how much equipment may be needed to put out the fire.