Strong easterly winds low relative and high temperatures in the 70s combined with dry fuels to create critical fire weather conditions this afternoon and early evening of Monday, May 18, across portions of northeast Minnesota.

Winds sustained at 15 to 20 mph with gusts as high as 41mph recorded at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport and humidity of 20-25% prompted the National Weather Service in Duluth to issue a red flag warning for the region, including Crow Wing, Cass and northern Aitkin counties. The warning is in effect until 7 p.m.

People are asked to refrain from burning as fires can quickly spread in these weather and fuel conditions, the weather service stated.

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.