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NWS: Conditions ripe for increased fire danger risk

A fire weather watch includes northeast Minnesota counties with a hazardous weather outlook for central, northern and far southeastern Minnesota.

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The National Weather Service in Duluth predicts the fire weather threat to be high in portions of northeast Minnesota with a combination of low humidity and strong winds Saturday, March 20, 2021. National Weather Service graphic

The first day of spring Saturday, March 20, is arriving with low humidity and gusty southerly winds, creating an elevated fire weather risk.

The National Weather Service in Duluth reported Friday the combination of low humidity and strong winds with gusts up to 30-40 mph may warrant red flag warning conditions for fire danger. “Near-critical fire weather conditions will persist through the evening,” the weather service reported on Friday.

“Please refrain from campfires, grilling, throwing cigarettes out the window, or using anything that could lead to a wildfire,” the weather service stated when issuing a hazardous weather outlook for northern and central Minnesota, extending down the eastern state border to include far southeastern counties. “Areas without snow packs will see the greatest risk for hazardous fire weather conditions,” the weather service reported in a special weather statement.

A hazardous weather outlook and special weather statement issued Friday included Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Mille Lacs and Wadena counties.

“Elevated fire weather conditions are forecast Saturday due to low humidities and gusty southerly winds in the afternoon,” the weather service reported. “A fire weather watch is in effect for portions of northeast Minnesota.

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The weather service issued a fire weather watch for St. Louis, Carlton, Pine and Aitkin counties.

The highest fire danger in Minnesota extends between Hinckley and Duluth and stretches into eastern Aitkin County. The northeast corner of Crow Wing County is listed for a low fire weather threat. Mille Lacs County has mild and moderate fire weather threat.

There is a 50% chance of rain Sunday with a high expected near 55 degrees.

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National Weather Service graphic for the fire weather risk Saturday, March 20, 2021.

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