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ST. PAUL, Minn. - If you live in the central part of Minnesota and are thinking about doing some spring burning, it might be best to do it this weekend.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will place burning restrictions over the central part of the state beginning Monday, April 14 because fire danger is expected to rapidly increase as winds pick up and snow continues to melt.

Restrictions will impact Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Dakota, Douglas, Hennepin, Isanti, Otter Tail, Pope, Ramsey, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Washington and Wright Counties: Others are likely to be added as the spring dry-out continues.

"Because of the high fire incidence during this time period, the DNR initiates burning restrictions to coincide with this annual fire season," said Larry Himanga, DNR wildfire prevention coordinator.

The burning restrictions mean the state will not give out burning permits for burning brush or yard waste. Open burning will be prohibited until summer green-up occurs. Traditionally most wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May. More than 95 percent of these fires are caused by human error.

One week later, a second large group of counties will also be added to the fire restriction list. Among the counties to go under the restrictions April 21 are: Aitkin, Becker, Cass (that portion south of the Chippewa National Forest boundary), Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Kanabec, Mahnomen, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Polk (that portion south and east of County Road 6 from the Mahnomen County line to state Highway 92 east to the Clearwater County line), and Wadena.

More counties will be added as conditions warrant.

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