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Remember to obtain permits for open burning

Residents are reminded that permits are required for open burning and those permits have limitations, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

An open burning permit is required for any fire larger than a campfire up to three feet in diameter and when the ground is not covered by at least three inches of snow.

Open burning is restricted to vegetative materials such as grass, brush, or untreated wood.

The permit does not allow the burning of materials including garbage, tires, plastics, sheetrock, plywood, painted boards, or any other nonvegetative materials.

"What you can and can't burn is pretty simple," according to DNR Fire Supervisor Tom Romaine. "If it's not natural, untreated, vegetative material, it cannot be burned."

Under extremely dry conditions, open burning permits may be limited by burning restrictions or bans. When this occurs, not only are existing permits voided and new permits not issued, but recreational fires, and even smoking outdoors, may be prohibited, depending on the fire danger.

Illegal burning is a misdemeanor, but bigger financial penalties often result from loss of property, proper disposal of burnt materials, and firefighting expenses.

Any suspected unauthorized or illegal fires should be reported by dialing 911.

"The best policy is, if in doubt, report it," Romaine said. "An early report of a fire enables a quicker response time and helps to keep fires small."

The process to obtain an open burning permit may vary by county. People should contact the local county sheriff's office at the nonemergency phone number, during regular business hours, for more information.