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Winds, temps create critical wildfire danger

Wildland firefighters in the Brainerd lakes area are warning the public of approaching and critical wildfire weather. "Weather predictions from Tuesday through Friday will be prime for wildfire starts and fires will be difficult to control," said...

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"Weather predictions from Tuesday through Friday will be prime for wildfire starts and fires will be difficult to control," said Curt Cogan, area forester. "Temperatures are expected to be above normal; humidity's are projected to be in the low 20s to mid-teens and the winds strong and gusty. These are a mix of weather conditions can create catastrophic wildfires in our lakes area." BrainerdDispatch.com Illustration

Wildland firefighters in the Brainerd lakes area are warning the public of approaching and critical wildfire weather.

"Weather predictions from Tuesday through Friday will be prime for wildfire starts and fires will be difficult to control," said Curt Cogan, area forester. "Temperatures are expected to be above normal; humidity's are projected to be in the low 20s to mid-teens and the winds strong and gusty. These are a mix of weather conditions can create catastrophic wildfires in our lakes area."

Vegetation green up is occurring rapidly since the recent rains. This much needed moisture is all but gone from the surface layer where the new plants and existing vegetation are consuming huge amounts of moisture in the process of seasonal growth, the DNR reported. Pine trees are in a critical stage of their annual growth cycle with internal fuel moisture at the lowest level of the year making the threat of pine crown fires very real especially with the projected weather conditions. This seasonal growth and drying cycle has seen the occurrence of wildfires locally such as the "By Pass Fire" near Brainerd and the "Green Valley Fire" north of Menahga in recent times.

Wildland firefighters responded to several small fires this past weekend, including a 7-acre fire in the pines north of Motley.

"Because we had very little wind and the humidity was in the 30 percent range we were able to get a handle on these fires very quickly," said Joel Lemberg, Backus Area Fire Program leader. "If these fires had started under the weather conditions projected for Tuesday and Wednesday the outcome would have no doubt been quite different."

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Activations of burning permits were allowed in Crow Wing and Southern Cass counties this past weekend.

Residents who activated burning permits are reminded to return to their burn pile and test for any remaining hot coals that wind could fan back into flame while unattended, potentially causing a wildfire.

Individuals witnessing the start of a wildfire are reminded to call 911 to report it. For more information concerning burning permits and other wildfire information contact the DNR, Backus Area Forestry office at www.dnr.state.mn/forestry/index.html  or call 218-947-3232.

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