Gov. Walz, President Biden, discuss wildfire and drought crisis

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 6:38 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, Minn. (KEYC) - Friday, President Biden held an emergency virtual meeting with Governor Walz and 6 other governors from western states on the nation’s going wildfire crisis.

The virtual meeting comes as Canadian wildfires threaten to keep sending not just smoke and harmful air quality but flames across the Minnesota border.

“Our Canadian neighbors are fighting wildfires and keeping them out of Minnesota that threatens one of the last pristine places on the planet, the boundary waters,” said Walz.

Walz noted that Minnesota’s fire season typically begins in the fall and that the state is already 500 fires above last year, urging the President to keep in mind the resources the state may need come peak time.

Walz also spoke to Biden on the state’s drought conditions.

“As one of the nations leading agricultural states, 75% of the state is in severe drought conditions, we are going to see a massive impact in turns of production,” said Walz.

Walz asked for federal action to recognize the extreme drought conditions and increase Minnesota livestock producers’ access to lands for forage.

Discussing the climate, KEYC News Now Meteorologist Josh Eckl says it looks like dryer conditions may stick around for a while.

“There is still a lot of uncertainties with this unusual climate we are dealing with this summer. We see multiple wildfires affecting the nation, out West dealing with ongoing wildfires...this is their wildfire season so this is not uncommon for them but with these abnormally dry and drought conditions, that’s going to accelerate things for burning quicker,” said Eckl.

Locally Mankato’s precipitation averages at about 20.99 inches YTD with this year averaging at 12.9 inches.

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