In town, you canhave a fire in your yard as long as it doesn’t become a public nuisance

    Extreme fire conditions across Minnesota resulted in the National Weather Service issuing a Red Flag Warning for Polk County Saturday due to critical weather conditions that are ideal for wildfire, but the warning has since expired.

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources still holds the county at a high rating meaning fires start easily and spread at a fast rate.

    What about those residents that need to get a burn permit?

    Variance permits are still allowed if you call ahead (281-4584) to the Crookston Fire Department, firefighter Justin Johnson recently told the Times.

    Johnson says the CFD is still on “lockdown” and will remain on lockdown until further notice due to COVID-19 regulations which is why calling ahead for variance permits before stopping into the hall is the best way.

    Residents who live in area townships like Euclid, Belgium, Fanny, Parnell, Lowell, Crookston, Gentilly, Roome, Andover, Fairfax, Kertsonville, Russia, Hammond and Onstead, plus various parts inside the City of Crookston area, which are all considered a part of the local fire district, are allowed to apply.

    “After receiving your permit from the CFD, you have to activate it and then it will be up to the Minnesota DNR if you’re allowed to burn,” Johnson explained. “They (the DNR) could still deny the permit based on conditions.”

IN-TOWN BURINING

    In the City of Crookston, recreational burning is allowed as long as the recreational fires are “clean-burning” using “dry” firewood, says Johnson.

    “If a fire produces excessive smoke, odor or soot, that may be a cause to extinguish a (recreational) fire,” he explained when asked what would be considered a “nuisance” to the public. “Any fires that are causing a nuisance will be extinguished.”

    If there is a burn ban imposed by the state or city, recreational fires would not be allowed.

    “Ultimately the CFD and fire chief have the final jurisdictional say on fires in the city,” Johnson added later. “Also, no fire may be allowed to smolder without a person present. You cannot just walk away from a fire. It has to be completely extinguished.”

    Johnson said the department recommends that residents use a “mesh flame arrestor” to keep embers from leaving a fire pit, but it’s not required.

    “One thing to make sure of is that the fire is always attended,” he added.