Warning for fire risk in effectby Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — The National Weather Service is warning Minnesota residents that fire conditions could be high through Saturday.
A red flag warning for dangerous fire weather conditions is in effect through Friday evening for western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota.
Dry vegetation due to an ongoing drought makes this year an especially dangerous fire season. So far this year, the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center's Jean Goad says there have been twice the usual number of wildfires in the state, burning some 9,000 acres.
"It's kind of an explosive situation," Goad said. "Fires spread rapidly and burn intensely."
There is a chance for light rain on Saturday, but strong winds expected to develop later in the day could increase the risk of wildfires. Outdoor burning restrictions are in place across most of Minnesota.
"This year the fire season started earlier," Goad said. "So far the DNR has seen 377 fires, which is about twice what it usually does by this time. There's been a little over 9,000 acres burned."