Because fire danger is high to very high across major portions of the state due to continued drought conditions, the Fire Chiefs of Washington County is initiating a burning ban beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5.
No camp or recreational fire or open burn will be permitted within Washington County during the period of the ban. No burning permits will be issued to the general public and no use of fireworks will be allowed. The ban will continue until further notice.
The severe drought has brought wildfire conditions to the point that fires start easily from sparks or windblown embers and spread rapidly.
Early Friday morning more than 100 firefighters — including Oakdale — responded to a house fire in Mahtomedi that destroyed one million-dollar home and damaged two other homes nearby.
"The Washington County Fire Chiefs are taking this extraordinary measure to help ensure the safety of our residents," said Deputy Fire Chief Allen Newman, President of the Washington County Fire Chiefs Association. "Conditions across the state, including all areas of Washington County, are favorable for significant grass and wild fires."
The DNR and other wildfire agencies in the state have brought in additional resources and placed them on a Level 5 alert, the highest planning level. The Minnesota Incident Command System agencies are concerned that prolonged lack of rainfall has allowed even the large woody debris and standing conifer trees to ignite easily as well as areas with peat soils. Both lead to difficult demands on firefighting resources to protect life and property.
Residents are encouraged to contact their the Oakdale Fire Department for updated information.