Rise in wildfire activity during near critical fire weather conditions

Grand Rapids, Minn., – The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center received more than 25 reports of active wildfires throughout the state today. Strong gusty winds, warm temperatures and low relative humidity produced near-critical fire weather conditions throughout much of the state, contributing to fire danger and an increase in reported wildfires.

The largest concentration of wildfires occurred in the central region of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro area, where persistent drought has been building since this summer.

Wildland firefighters from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nature Conservancy and numerous local fire departments are responding to suppress and contain active wildfires. Water-dropping aircraft, including helicopters and a Single Engine Airtanker Fire Boss, also helped support ground firefighting efforts on five wildfires in Central Minnesota throughout the afternoon. The water drops delivered by the aircraft helped cool and slow down fire activity.

“Along with the growing drought, the recent frost has left grasses and downed leaves extremely dry and highly susceptible to wildfire,” said Leanne Langeberg, Public Information Officer with the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center. “Until we receive significant precipitation, in the form of rain or snow, fire danger is expected to remain high.”

The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center urges everyone to be extremely cautious with all outdoor activities that can produce heat or a spark and to check any recent debris burning to make sure the fire is out cold. If a wildfire is spotted, call 911 immediately.

For more information Contact: Leanne Langeberg, Public Information Officer, 218-322-2739