Dry conditions in parts of Minnesota and North Dakota have prompted officials in the two states to issue fire alerts.

Fire danger is high in northwest and southwest Minnesota, and moderate fire danger conditions persist for much of the rest of the state, the Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday, Oct. 7. Only far southeast Minnesota, along with portions of St. Louis, Itasca, Koochiching, Carlton, Clearwater and Beltrami counties are in the low danger categories.

Credit: Minnesota DNR
Credit: Minnesota DNR

Wildfire risk has increased in southwestern and northeastern Minnesota – areas that experienced below-normal rainfall this summer and are in a moderate drought – the DNR said. Red Flag conditions are possible this weekend in the southwest.

Low relative humidity and warm, breezy days can quickly fan fall fire flames, the DNR said, and harvest and hunting seasons further increase the risk.

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“Don’t fall for the trap that cooler weather cancels fire danger,” Casey McCoy, DNR wildfire prevention supervisor, said in a statement. “October is historically one of Minnesota’s most active wildfire months.”

In North Dakota, where pheasant season opens Saturday, the Game and Fish Department is asking hunters to be aware of the National Weather Service’s daily fire danger index.

Much of North Dakota as of Wednesday was in the “moderate” fire danger category, but recent high daytime temperatures, combined with typical dry, late-summer and early-fall ground conditions, can increase the risk, especially on windy days.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

The fire danger index can change daily depending on temperature, wind and precipitation forecasts, the Game and Fish Department said.

More information on fire danger and burning restrictions is available at mndnr.gov/burnrestrictions in Minnesota and ndresponse.gov in North Dakota.