Minnesota lifts trucking restrictions for wildfire relief

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty lifted trucking restrictions Monday, June 11, to help Gunflint Trail businesses and residents recover from last month’s wildfire, the Associated Press reported.

Pawlenty’s executive order allows truckers to drive additional hours as long as they’re helping restore telephone service or rebuilding other infrastructure, the AP reported; the order also prohibits fatigued drivers from working and allows them to get eight hours off if they ask for it.

The Ham Lake fire started May 5 and burned more than 118 square miles in northeastern Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. The fire, which was contained about two weeks after it began, destroyed more than 130 buildings, but didn’t cause enough damage to qualify for a federal disaster declaration, according to the AP.

Pawlenty, a Republican, has asked the federal Small Business Administration to provide emergency low-interest loans to Gunflint Trail businesses and residents.