The extended winter finally ended in mid-April and spring was right on its heels. Volunteer fire departments in northwestern Minnesota and DNR fire fighters have been extremely busy lately and have responded to 27 fires in the past two weeks.
NW MN has only two inches of precipitation in the last 60 days and less than one inch in the last month. The NW reaches of the state had only modest snow cover this past winter and on top of that, was missed by those big late-winter snow storms that landed in central and southern MN. All this has put the area in a moisture deficit that is creating dangerous wildfire conditions. Warm, dry, windy weather has been common place the past few weeks and Red Flag Warnings have dotted the forecast more than usual.
Fire departments have had some notable fires in the past two weeks that have displayed very aggressive fire behavior and have required firefighting helicopters and air tankers to extinguish.
One large fire northwest of Greenbush required overnight help from four fire departments and eventually took two days to contain with considerable aircraft support. Another fire near Warroad threatened a trailer court but was fortunately close enough to the Warroad airport where the air tankers are reloaded that crews were able to steer the fire away from the homes and narrowly avoid an evacuation.
For more, see this week’s North Star News!