In an effort to prevent wildfires, the Minnesota DNR urges woodland property owners to compost their yard waste rather than burn it. “Burning should be a last resort for yard waste—especially in April and May, when wildfire risk is high,” said Casey McCoy, fire prevention supervisor.

    The U of M Extension offers a step-by-step guide to composting yard waste on its website.

    For landowners who feel they must burn yard debris, now is the time to do it. That’s because annual burning restrictions will take effect after snowmelt occurs, which will happen soon in parts of Minnesota. Three inches of snow significantly reduces the chances that a fire will escape and burn unintended areas or endanger lives, homes, and neighboring properties. If a yard waste fire does escape, the homeowner is responsible for any damage it does to nearby property.

    Although a DNR burning permit is not required in many locations where there is sufficient snow, be sure to check local regulations prior to burning. Once burning restrictions are issued, debris burning will be banned, and no permits issued, until further notice.

    For more, visit mndnr.gov/burnrestrictions.