With gusty winds expected Tuesday, and low relative humidity levels, the National Weather Service in Chanhassen issued a Fire Weather Watch for southern Minnesota.
...A FIRE WEATHER WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING FOR MUCH OF SOUTHERN MINNESOTA DUE TO THE COMBINATION OF DRY FINE FUELS...VERY STRONG WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES EXPECTED DURING THIS TIME... .A STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM AND COLD FRONT WILL MOVE ACROSS MINNESOTA TUESDAY MORNING. STRONG SOUTHWEST WINDS AT 25 TO 35 MPH WILL DEVELOP IN THE WAKE OF THE FRONT. WIND GUSTS TO NEAR 50 MPH ARE POSSIBLE AS WELL. IN ADDITION...THE RELATIVE HUMIDITY WILL DROP TO NEAR 25 PERCENT DURING THE AFTERNOON. THE COMBINATION OF THE WIND...DRY FUELS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY COULD LEAD TO VERY DANGEROUS FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS.
This coincides with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources imposing burning restrictions in 35 counties across the state beginning on March 26th.
From the Minnesota DNR:
Fire danger in most of Minnesota is expected to increase rapidly in the coming week, as the snow continues to melt and winds dry the dead standing grass and brush in open areas. Because of this danger, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will place burning restrictions over much of the state starting March 26, with more areas included later.
Spring fire restrictions limit open burning until summer green-up occurs. Traditionally, most wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May. More than 95 percent of these fires are caused by human error.
“Because of the high fire incidence during this time period, the DNR proactively initiates burning restrictions,” said DNR Fire Prevention Coordinator Larry Himanga.
The restrictions normally last from four to six weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs. Spring fire restrictions have resulted in a dramatic decrease in both the numbers and sizes of accidental fires, Himanga said.
The burning restrictions mean the state will not give out burning permits for burning brush or yard waste.
The following counties will be included in the initial burning restrictions this spring: Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, southern Beltrami (that portion south of Hwy. 1), Benton, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Manhomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Polk (that portion south and east of County Road 6 from the Manhomen County line to MN Hwy 92 east to the Clearwater County line) Pope, Ramsey, Roseau (that portion west of Hwy. 89), Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Washington, and Wright. More counties will be added as spring weather conditions warrant.
Campfires are still allowed. Campers should watch their fire continuously and make sure it is out and cold to the touch before leaving the area.
Fire conditions may change quickly over the next few weeks. More information including maps and fire conditions is available online.