4th of July: Without fireworks?

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Due to continued elevated burning restrictions, residents outside city limits may be prohibited from lighting off fireworks this Fourth of July.

Fire danger has been declared low by the Minnesota DNR, but restrictions remain in place.

“So right now we were kind of welcoming that rain that we saw in the last few days,” said Wildfire Prevention Specialist Karen Harrison, with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “And while it does help, unfortunately, it’s only providing a temporary relief. The forecast for this weekend looks warm and dry as of right now. So the burning restrictions will continue and remain in place for Carlton, Cooke, Lake, and Saint Louis counties in northeast Minnesota. So no fireworks outside of city limits, and no campfires in dispersed backcountry remote areas. Campfires are still allowed in an established fire ring associated with a campground, home, cabin or resort. If we’re in that high fire danger, though, still strongly recommend rethinking campfires.”

Manager at Great Lakes Gear Exchange, Nils Anderson said it’s important to listen to the experts.

“Of course, there’s a longstanding tradition of having a campfire when you’re camping,” said Anderson. “And I think especially in northern Minnesota, we’ve kind of always taken that for granted, especially in June. June is usually a very wet month, and this has just been not the average June for us. A fire ban was put in place for a lot of counties in northern Minnesota, rightly so, because it was just a tinder box. And so this rain that’s come just within the past week, hopefully that will help improve those conditions and maybe that will influence the ban. But I think you just have to roll with the punches. And, you know, tradition or not, it’s in the best interest of everybody to take care of those natural places.”

If you’re in a place where its allowed, Harrison recommends limiting your campfire to three square feet, making sure its thoroughly extinguished, and never leaving it unattended.

Through our reporting we’ve noticed that area campsites are filling up. So if you’re out there this weekend–or over the holiday–make sure to listen to follow local guidelines and have a safe 4th.