Drought conditions in central and southern Minnesota are drying vegetation. With these dry conditions comes an increase in wildfire risk.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging operators of heavy or agricultural equipment and off-road vehicles to exercise caution near dry vegetation. Heat and sparks from farm machinery and heavy equipment can ignite wildfires, as can vehicles parked over tall grass.
Exhaust systems on both road and recreation vehicles can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees during operation, and farm equipment can create sparks by hitting rocks or hard surfaces.
It only takes one spark to turn harvest season into wildfire season.
“Don’t believe that cooler fall weather cancels out fire danger,” said Karen Harrison, DNR wildfire prevention specialist.
“October is historically a high-risk month for wildfires in Minnesota because vegetation is drying and many outdoor activities are underway – such as crop harvesting and hunting – that could result in a wildfire if care is not taken.”