DNR advocates for safety this holiday weekend

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking Minnesotans to exercise safety this weekend ahead of the 4th of July.

On Friday, the DNR issued safety tips regarding wildfire risks, boat and water safety, off-highway vehicles and state parks and recreation areas.

With a burning restriction in place for Carlton, Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties in northeast Minnesota, no fireworks can be set off on public or private land outside of city limits. Campfires are not allowed unless they’re burning in an established fire ring, the DNR said.

The agency noted that “people cause 98% of all wildfires in Minnesota by burning debris, fireworks, campfires and other activities,” while reminding everyone that there are lots of activities that can be done outdoors that don’t include a flame.

Close to 90% of boating-related drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket, according to the DNR. They’re encouraging people not just to bring a life jacket but to wear it while out on the water. Additional safety equipment is required while boating; CLICK HERE for a list of boating equipment requirements.

The agency also reminded boaters that drunk boating is drunk driving, and boating while impaired is illegal. Boating with a blood alcohol concentration of over .08 is against the law and carries the same penalties as drunk driving.

RELATED: Operation Dry Water: DNR announces initiative to put increased patrols on water for holiday weekend

The DNR also issued a warning to those using off-highway vehicles to not drink and ride as well as to ride only on designated trails, avoid paved roads, wear a seatbelt and protective gear, supervise young riders and ensure the vehicle has a spark arrestor.

In state parks and recreation areas, the DNR is reminding visitors that the use of fireworks is not allowed. To ensure visitors are up to date on the latest park information, the DNR has a visitor alert page for those visiting recreation areas.

As always, the DNR said to be aware of bears and watch the weather when going to state parks and recreation areas.