Image courtesy MN DNR

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for 41 counties in central and southern Minnesota effective Saturday, March 16, from 1:00 p.m. through 8:00 p.m. due to extreme fire risk conditions.

Affected counties include Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Dakota, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Hennepin, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Pope, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Rock, Scott, Sibley, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Waseca, Watonwan, Wright, and Yellow Medicine.

A Red Flag Warning means fires can spread quickly and easily progress out of control under the predicted weather conditions, including very dry conditions, low relative humidity, and strong wind. Residents should not burn in those counties where a Red Flag Warning is in effect and should check any recent burning they may have done to ensure the fire is completely out. The DNR will not issue or activate open burning permits for large vegetative debris burning during the Red Flag Warning, and campfires are discouraged.