(KEYC) - Extreme fire conditions today in southwest Minnesota have resulted in the National Weather Service issuing a Red Flag Warning for high fire danger for the following counties:
Big Stone, Brown, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Pope, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.
A Red Flag Warning means the area is experiencing critical weather conditions that are ideal for wildfire, including strong winds and minimum humidity values. Do not burn while the Red Flag Warning remains in effect and check any burning done recently to ensure the fire is out. Any spark could become a wildfire under Red Flag conditions.
The Red Flag Warning expires at 6 p.m.
The Department of Natural Resources cautions hunters heading afield for the firearms deer season to be aware that some parts of the state, including the southwest and south-central regions, are under high fire danger.
Conditions are favorable for wildfires statewide after a week of warm temperatures and low relative humidity. Forecasted weekend winds could fan the flames of any escaped fire.
“It only takes one spark to turn hunting season into wildfire season,” said Casey McCoy, wildfire prevention supervisor. “Whether you’re around the campfire with family at deer camp or arriving to hunt at a state forest or wildlife management area, be careful with any heat source that can cause a spark.”
Hunters who are traveling and taking to the woods and grasslands should follow these tips to avoid accidentally starting a wildfire:
- Avoid driving over and parking on dry grass. The heat from a vehicle’s exhaust can easily ignite dry vegetation.
- Be prepared to put out a fire. Keep a shovel and water in camp, and consider a small fire extinguisher for the field.
- Never leave a campfire unattended. Keep the fire within a ring and clear all flammable materials within 5 feet of the fire. Before leaving, make sure the fire is completely out: drown with water, stir and repeat – until embers are cold.
For current fire risk information, visit the DNR website: mndnr.gov/burnrestrictions.