Preventing forest fires

PRESTON, Minn. — You have probably seen the Smoky the Bear ads and there is a good chance you have not followed some of his rules because 9 out of 10 wildfires are still caused by humans.

Minnesota DNR firefighters annually respond to more than 1,200 wildfires each year.

This week is Minnesota’s Wildfire Prevention Week and they are taking the opportunity to remind us of safe practices.

Recycling or composting is a much safer alternative to burning, but there are safer ways to burn too.

“You need to make sure you have some tools around, some hand tools and some water available. It’s good to have other people around, it’s good to have a cell phone so if it does get out of control you can contact 911 and get some help to come in, but a little bit of common sense goes a long way,” said Minnesota DNR Forester Jim Edgar.

He said even though the melting snow is leaving puddles, the grass is still pretty dry.

“It’s surprising how quick dry grass dries out. Dry grasses are what we call a one-hour fuel, which basically means in one hours time that can go from wet and unburnable to dry and quite burnable, so you really have to be careful,” Edgar said.

He said if you do plan to burn and it can wait, that is another good option. In about six weeks or so there should be a lot more moisture in the vegetation to make things safer.

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