Today’s warm and breezy weather conditions might seem ideal for a stroll in the park, but they have public safety officials worried.
The National Weather Service in Chanhassen has issued a Red Flag Warning for much of Minnesota. Also, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has classified Dakota County with a “high” fire danger rating.
Inver Grove Fire Marshal Jeff Schadegg explains the situation in IGH:
"The main question we are receiving now is: 'Can I light a fire under my permit today?' Here in IGH we allow both open burning and recreational fires by permit. Before you have a fire allowed by your permit, it is your responsibility to check the Minnesota DNR website to see what the current fire danger rating is," Schadegg explained.
"Open burning is only allowed when conditions are LOW or MODERATE. Recreational fires, in an approved fire ring, are allowed until the conditions reach the EXTREME level. During EXTREME conditions open burning and recreational fires are not allowed," he said.
The culprits for the fire concerns are above-average temperatures, windy conditions and extremely low humidity.
RED FLAG WARNING
Here is the text of the weather service’s Red Flag Warning, which was issued at 11:32 a.m today:
...RED FLAG WARNING ACROSS ALL OF CENTRAL INTO SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA TODAY AND TUESDAY...STRONG SOUTHERLY WINDS...GUSTING TO 35 TO 40 MPH...WILL DEVELOP ACROSS SOUTHERN MINNESOTA TODAY AS HIGH PRESSURE RETREATS TO THE EAST AND A COLD FRONT ADVANCES THROUGH THE DAKOTAS. TEMPERATURES THIS AFTERNOON WILL WARM INTO THE 80S...WITH MINIMUM RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES DROPPING TO NEAR 20 PERCENT. THE COMBINATION OF DRY FUELS...STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY...WILL RESULT IN DANGEROUS WILDFIRE CONDITIONS. A RED FLAG WARNING NOW IS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF CENTRAL INTO SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA FOR THE REST OF THE TODAY THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING.
THERE WILL BE A BRIEF BREAK IN THE FIRE DANGER TONIGHT INTO EARLY TUESDAY AS WINDS DECREASE AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY INCREASES.
HOWEVER...DANGEROUS FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL REDEVELOP ON TUESDAY ACROSS MOST OF SOUTHERN MINNESOTA. TEMPERATURES WILL RISE INTO THE UPPER 80S TO LOWER 90S UNDER THE CONTINUED INFLUENCE OF STRONG SOUTHERLY WINDS. MINIMUM RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES WILL REACH NEAR 20 PERCENT ONCE AGAIN...RESULTING IN HIGH FIRE DANGER CONDITIONS. A COLD FRONT IS EXPECTED TO ENTER WESTERN MINNESOTA TUESDAY AFTERNOON. THE ARRIVAL OF THE FRONT AND DECREASING WINDS COULD REDUCE THE FIRE DANGER ACROSS WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA EARLY TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
The weather service’s forecast for Dakota County is calling for sunny and breezy conditions today, with a high of 82 and south winds reaching 18 to 20 miles per hour. Tonight is expected to be mostly clear with a low of 62.
On Tuesday, a high 91 with winds gusting as high as 38 miles per hour are in the forecast.
The average high temperature for Sept. 10 is 74 degrees, according to the weather service.
Rain and more seasonable temperatures are is Wednesday's forecast.
The DNR says Dakota County is in the “high” fire danger category, which means “fires start easily and spread at a fast rate." Much of the Twin Cities metro area has a similar rating.
But it’s a different story outside of the metro. All of western and south-central Minnesota has been tagged with an “extreme” rating, which the DNR says, “the fire situation is explosive and can result in extensive property damage."
Dakota County and most other metro-area counties are under burning restrictions. No burning permits are being issued, but campfires are allowed.
Click here to see the DNR’s fire-danger and burning-restriction maps.