UNDATED (WJON News) -- A lack of snow this winter is causing the wildfire season to arrive early.

Karen Harrison is a wildfire prevention specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. She says the wildfire season typically starts in late March or early April, but they have already responded to dozens of wildfires across the state...

In the last week-and-a-half, approximately, the DNR has responded to over 50 wildfires and over 150 acres being impacted from those.

Harrison says people cause 90% of wildfires, so be sure campfires and burned vegetation are out cold, and always get a permit before starting any burn piles.

In a typical winter, Harrison says the snowpack replenishes the soil moisture, but it also has a secondary effect...

So, often that heavy snow will compact all of the grasses and vegetation close to the ground but they are kind of light and fluffy this year because we didn't have that snowpack. So, we want people to be careful with any equipment or outdoor activities that could produce heat or a spark...things like a chainsaw or a mower. Hitting a rock could easily start a wildfire in those dry grasses.

Harrison says there is a good chance that the potential for wildfires will last longer this spring due to low soil moisture.

Last year there were 813 wildfires that covered approximately 8,663 acres.


Minnesota DNR
Minnesota DNR




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