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Burning restrictions lifted, recreation areas reopened for select regions in central and northern Minnesota

Sep 15, 2021 05:50AM ● By Editor

By Samantha Fischer of KARE 11 News - September 14, 2021


Department of Natural Resources officials say a change in weather conditions has allowed for burning restrictions to be lifted in 14 counties in central and northern Minnesota.

Beginning Wednesday at 12:01 a.m., the restrictions will be lifted from Beltrami, Becker, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Ottertail, St. Louis, Roseau and Wadena Counties.

The DNR says because wildfire risk remains in the northeastern tip of the state, Cook and Lake Counties will continue to observe Class III restrictions. These restrictions include a ban on campfires on remote state, county and private lands, and a ban on fireworks on lands outside city limits. Attended campfires in established fire rings at a home or campground are permitted.

"Until we have a few inches of snow on the ground, we all need to continue our efforts to reduce wildfires," Allissa Reynolds, wildfire prevention supervisor for the DNR, said in a statement.

The U.S. Forest Service also announced Tuesday that a decreased wildfire risk will allow campgrounds and recreation areas along the upper Gunflint Trail to reopen to visitors Wednesday. Blankenburg Boat Launch, Trails End Campground, Iron Lake Campground and all associated facilities are included in the announcement.

A statement from the National Forest Service says lands and roads along the upper Gunflint Trail have already reopened.

"I want to thank the public for their understanding and patience this year as we had to make some very difficult decisions about closing areas on the forest this summer, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness management area," Connie Cummins, Superior National Forest supervisor, said. "We hope next year will bring more rain, and less fire risk for our visitors."

Despite these reopenings, closures in the areas of the John Ek, Greenwood and Whelp fires will remain in effect through at least the end of September. 

For more information on burning restrictions, visit the DNR's website.

To reserve a campsite near the Gunflint Trail, or to check on existing reservations, visit recreation.gov.

Media Release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources below:

Continued favorable weather has improved wildfire risk for much of northern Minnesota. In response, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is removing fire restrictions in 14 counties.

Beginning 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, burning restrictions will be lifted in Beltrami, Becker, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Ottertail, St. Louis, Roseau, and Wadena counties. 

However, the wildfire risk in remains in the northeastern tip of Minnesota. Therefore, Class III burning restrictions remain in effect for in Cook and Lake counties. Under Class III restrictions:

  • No campfires are allowed for dispersed, remote, or backcountry camping on all state, county, or private lands. Camping stoves are permitted.
  • Attended campfires in established fire rings associated with a home, cabin, campground, or resort are allowed.
  • No fireworks may be ignited on any public or private land outside city limits. People should check with their local community for any additional restrictions.
  • Open burning permits are restricted.
  • An Area of Closure around the Greenwood Fire remains in place and is not affected by the updated burning restrictions.

According to DNR acting Wildfire Prevention Supervisor, Allissa Reynolds, “These changes reflect reduced wildfire risks for much of the north, while also recognizing that wildfire danger remains high in Cook and Lake counties.” She also cautions, “Until we have a few inches of snow on the ground, we all need to continue our efforts to reduce wildfires; fires can start easily in dry grass and leaves.”  

Forrest Boe, Director of DNR’s Forestry Division, appreciates the continued support of all Minnesotans in following wildfire-related restrictions, saying, “Everyone’s efforts to prevent wildfires are helping. Thank you and let’s keep it up through the fall.”

The DNR will continue to monitor conditions and adjust county-specific burning restrictions as necessary. Of upmost importance is protecting the health and safety of Minnesotans, firefighters, and resource managers.

These state restrictions were developed in conjunction with tribal and federal partners and are consistent with restrictions for the

The DNR wildland fire information webpage includes information on all restrictions and a list of affected state forests and parks. 


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