Gov. Mark Dayton has declared a “peacetime state of emergency” in response to a propane shortage gripping Minnesota during the brutal cold.

The order authorizes the National Guard to active duty if required. The Guard is authorized to respond to needs of communities, which could include shelter in armories for people who’ve run out of propane, said Bruce Gordon, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

With propane supplies being squeezed, the fuel’s price has risen from $1.55 per gallon wholesale last fall to nearly $5 — and most of that increase has come just recently.

Dayton said Monday in a news release that he plans to meet with propane industry officials Tuesday and that his office has joined the state’s congressional dele­gation in petitioning President Obama for emergency assistance and a halt to U.S. propane exports. Also, Dayton said he’s asking the federal government and Texas to waive shipping restrictions and increase ­propane transports.

Mike Hughlett