County placed under burning ban

            Because fire danger is high to very high across many parts of Minnesota due to continued drought, Washington County fire department chiefs initiated a burning ban late last week.

No camp or recreational fire or open burn are permitted within the county during the ban. No burning permits will be issued to the general public and no use of fireworks will be allowed. The ban will continue until further notice.

The severe drought has brought wildfire conditions to the point that fires start easily from sparks or windblown embers and spread rapidly.

“The Washington County Fire Chiefs are taking this extraordinary measure to help ensure the safety of our residents,” said Deputy Fire Chief Alan Newman, president of the Washington County Fire Chiefs Association. “Conditions across the state, including all areas (cities and townships) of Washington County, are favorable for significant grass and wild fires.”

The Department of Natural Resources and other wildfire agencies in the state have brought in additional resources and placed them on a Level 5 alert, the highest planning level. The Minnesota Incident Command System agencies are concerned that prolonged lack of rainfall has allowed even the large woody debris and standing conifer trees to ignite easily, as well as areas with peat soils. Both lead to difficult demands on firefighting resources to protect life and property.