Red flag warning: Very high fire risk in southern and central MN

A red flag warning has been issued for a very high fire risk in southern and central Minnesota on Saturday.

The National Weather Service issued the warning for most counties in southern and central Minnesota from 1 p.m. through 8 p.m. The counties under the alert include:

  • Big Stone
  • Blue Earth
  • Brown
  • Carver
  • Chippewa
  • Cottonwood
  • Dakota
  • Faribault
  • Freeborn
  • Goodhue
  • Hennepin
  • Jackson
  • Kandiyohi
  • Lac Qui Parle
  • Le Sueur
  • Lincoln
  • Lyon
  • Martin
  • McLeod
  • Meeker
  • Murray
  • Nicollet
  • Nobles
  • Pipestone
  • Pope
  • Ramsey
  • Redwood
  • Renville
  • Rice
  • Rock
  • Scott
  • Sibley
  • Stearns
  • Steele
  • Stevens
  • Swift
  • Traverse
  • Waseca
  • Watonwan
  • Wright
  • Yellow Medicine.

A red flag warning means fires can spread quickly and easily get out of control under the forecast weather conditions, which include gusty winds and low humidity. 

People should not burn anything in the warned counties and should check any recent burning they may have done to ensure the fire is completely out.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division says most of the state has a high fire danger today, meaning fires can start easily and spread at a very fast rate. 

Burning restrictions 

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Burning restrictions for Minnesota on March 16. (Credit: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) 

From: Supplied

Several counties will have restrictions on permitted burning starting on March 18.

Open burning of vegetative debris will be restricted because of the increased wildfire risk given the unusually warm temperatures and dry conditions, according to the DNR. 

"This year, we’ve seen an early start to our wildfire season due to exceptionally warm winter temperatures and less than half the average snowfall across much of the state," Karen Harrison, DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist said in a statement. "Spring burning restrictions help reduce the number of wildfires, especially those caused by debris burning."

The DNR will not issue permits for open bush or yard waste burning in these counties.

For more information on current fire risk and open burning restrictions, click here.