DNR says homeowners can help protect their property from wildfires
With extremely dry conditions throughout the state, the Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages property owners to
ensure their homes are safe from potential wildfires. Tom Eiber, who
oversees the DNR's Firewise Program, said the greatest threat to homes
is not necessarily from the flames of an encroaching wildfire but
rather from the embers tossed into the air and carried downwind.
"Those embers can land anywhere," Eiber stressed. "The goal is to keep
those embers from landing on a fuel source, such as leaves that might
be laying on your roof or deck."
The recent rainfall lowered the fire danger level from very high to
low throughout Minnesota. However, Eiber cautioned that the conditions
are still ripe for wildfires. The DNR is concerned about the
north-central regions of the state, especially around Brainerd,
Zimmerman, Little Falls and Detroit Lakes, where the dry conditions
are at record levels for this time of the year. Eiber estimated 98
percent of Minnesota homeowners could improve their situation,
regardless of where they live.
"Those who live in our rural communities are the most susceptible to
wildfire, but they're not the only ones," he explained. "The
exceedingly dry conditions put everyone, everywhere at risk. All it
takes is the right set of conditions with a nearby fuel source, and a
whole neighborhood could be lost."
The DNR suggests seven quick and easy steps homeowners can take to
help protect their homes and property from a wildfire.
o mow the grass because short grass will not allow an encroaching fire
o clean leaves and needles from the rooftop and gutters; an ember from
a wildfire could ignite them, causing the house to burn
o clear leaves and needles from decks and clean underneath them, too;
leaves, grass and old lumber are also invitations for ignition
o remove dead, dry leaves and tall grass from around the house, and
move woodpiles and other potential fuel sources back at least 30 feet
from the house
o make sure house numbers are clear and visible from the road to help
firefighters find where they're going
o be prepared; have a shovel and hose with a working nozzle ready to
go, just in case
o become Firewise; visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/firewise for more
"The good news is these projects are free, and they are things people
have probably been meaning to do anyway," Eiber said. "In just a few
hours, a landowner can greatly reduce the potential risk. A little bit
of action can go a long way."
Property owners can learn more about safeguarding their homes from
wildfires by visiting the DNR's Web site www.dnr.state.mn.us/firewise,
or by requesting a free Firewise Homeowners Kit. To receive a kit,
contact the DNR's Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free at