Red Flag Warning expands across Minnesota amid windy, dry conditions

A State Patrol squad car helps control traffic near a grass fire in northwest Minnesota Monday. (Minnesota State Patrol) ((Minnesota State Patrol))

A Red Flag Warning is expanding across much of Minnesota Friday amid windy and dry conditions, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The National Weather Service expanded the warning to include an additional 31 counties. The warning means the impacted area is experiencing "critical weather conditions" that are ideal for a wildfire to spread, according to the DNR.

The Red Flag warning is effect until 8 p.m. Friday for the following counties:

Anoka, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Hennepin, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Pipestone, Pope, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wabasha, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Wright and Yellow Medicine counties.

Authorities urge the public not to burn while the warning is in effect.

This week, firefighters have battled grass fires throughout the state including the Oxcart Fire near Mentor and a fire along I-35W in Lino Lakes.

For more information on statewide fire danger and burn restrictions, click here.