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

"We hope next year will bring more rain, and less fire risk for our visitors."

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Editor's note: The video above first aired in August 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.

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