Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers and other public safety officials will be watching extra careful this Fourth of July holiday weekend for people boating under the influence. The MN DNR announced this week they will be part of the nationwide Operation Dry Water to "highlight the dangers of boating under the influence of drugs and alcohol and call attention to the heavy penalties associated with boating while intoxicated (BWI)," according to a news release.

In Minnesota laws are among the stiffest in the country, "a relatively new law means people convicted of drinking and driving - whether they're driving a boat, motor vehicle or recreational vehicle - lose their privilege to operate any of them," states the release.

DNR Enforcement administrator Adam Block says, "We have absolutely no tolerance for boaters who choose to operate while under the influence. They endanger their own lives, but also the lives of every other boater on the water. The penalties associated with boating under the influence have never been higher, but they pale in comparison to losing your life ending someone else's life because of a choice you made."

While Minnesota's legal limit is .08, "public safety officials encourage boaters to leave alcohol on shore and boat sober on 'dry water.'" In 2020, nine of the 16 boating fatalities in the state involved alcohol.

High Fire Danger Across MN

The MN DNR reports high fire danger in parts of the state. Specifically Beltrami, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties are under restrictions that limit fireworks and camp fires.

But the dry conditions are an issue all over says Casey McCoy, a fire prevention supervisor, "All of Minnesota is abnormally dry or is a stage of drought. With trees, grasses and shrubs dried out, it's east for a spark to quickly become a wildfire."

He says the DNR has seen an uptick in fire caused by UTV exhaust heat on the dry grass. More than 1,400 wildfires have burned about 35,000 acres in the state since March.

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