Wildfire

Performance Area: Natural Lands

Number and acres of wildfires suppressed by the DNR


Why Is This Important?

The DNR is charged by statute with protecting life, property and natural resources from wildfires on 45.5 million acres of public and private land in Minnesota. Wildfire control efforts under state authority began in the early 1900s after a series of wildfires destroyed Hinckley, Baudette, Chisolm and Cloquet. Growth in the number of residential and seasonal homes in areas prone to wildfire increases the need for wildfire preparedness and suppression.


What Is DNR Doing?

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The number and severity of wildfires vary considerably from year to year based on ground moisture and weather. DNR must respond to wildfires; the severity of a wildfire season affects DNR’s ability to achieve other forest targets.   Image 1 of 2 (use left/right arrows to navigate previous/next)
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The number and severity of wildfires vary considerably from year to year based on ground moisture and weather. DNR must respond to wildfires; the severity of a wildfire season affects DNR’s ability to achieve other forest targets.   Image 1 of 2 (use left/right arrows to navigate previous/next)

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The DNR focuses on:

  • prevention, including education (e.g., Smokey Bear, fire prevention week, school visits) and enforcement of state wildfire and open burning statutes (Minnesota Statutes, Chap. 88);
  • presuppression, including training firefighters and support personnel, developing and maintaining partnerships with other fire protection agencies, operating the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, maintaining a national interagency fire equipment cache, contracting for heavy ground and aerial suppression equipment, maintaining a radio communications network, and developing mobilization and dispatch plans;
  • suppression of wildfires by a balanced force of firefighters, support personnel, and aerial and ground equipment;
  • mitigating wildfire risk via Firewise structures and communities’ activities (e.g., fuel reduction).
The DNR recognizes that forest fuel loads (and wildfire risk) are influenced by forest management practices such as timber harvesting, thinning, and prescribed burning.


Target: No target set.

Wildfires are not predictable and vary widely from year to year primarily due to weather. Consequently, wildfire suppression is not suited to target setting. Because DNR must respond to wildfires, frequent or severe wildfires can dramatically affect our ability to achieve other targets.