With fire danger rated as moderate, Douglas, Pope, Grant and Todd counties are among 20 Minnesota counties affected by spring burning restrictions issued Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Prompted by warm temperatures and dry conditions, no burning permits for brush or yard waste will be issued in these counties until restrictions are lifted. Moderate fire danger means that fires can start easily and spread at a moderate rate, according to the DNR. The restrictions are for a wide swath of central Minnesota, where as of Tuesday the fire danger was classified as either moderate or low. Other counties where open burning is restricted are Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Hennepin, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Ramsey, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, Traverse, Washington and Wright. "Escaped debris burns are the number one cause of wildfires, so that's why we issue these restrictions," Casey McCoy, DNR fire prevention supervisor, said in a statement. "They really work — we've reduced wildfires by nearly a third since we started spring burning restrictions in 2001." Residents who burn debris will be held financially responsible should the fire burn other property. McCoy urges people to use burning alternatives such as composting, chipping or taking brush to a collection site.