Fire risk high in N. Minnesota despite weekend rainsby Bob Kelleher, Minnesota Public Radio
Ely, Minn. — The fire risk in northern Minnesota remains high despite weekend rains.
Officially, the drought in northern Minnesota is considered moderate; with some areas of extreme drought in the northeast. But moisture in burnable fuels, like sticks and dead trees, has reached low levels not seen since 1976 - a memorable year in Minnesota for wild fires.
Joanne Hakala, with the U.S. Forest Service in Ely, says the dry weather could set up a summer of wildfires like that year.
"If patterns were to continue, what we're seeing from weather patterns, if it were to continue into the summer, we'd probably be there - similar to what we had back in '76," Hakala said.
Weekend rains have helped alleviate the immediate fire risk, and there's a chance of more showers this week. But fire officials say it will take a steady pattern of rains week after week to overcome the dry conditions.