Warm weather leads to unseasonable fire dangerFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Our mild weather isn't all good. It's prime breeding grounds to spark dangerous wildfires. Firefighters are urging people to be careful and cautious in the days ahead.
By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY
Our mild weather isn't all good. It's prime breeding grounds to spark dangerous wildfires. Firefighters are urging people to be careful and cautious in the days ahead.
Nearly half of all North Dakota counties now have a burn ban in place. That's up from just one day ago.
Roy Schatschneider – Fargo Fire Chief: “It's going to dry that grass out really quick.”
Firefighters across the states of North Dakota and Minnesota are battling an unusual problem: Fire concerns.
Roy Schatschneider: “Usually this comes about in the middle to late April.”
It's been a good decade since we've had a March this dry. That alone has fire officials fearful. Twenty of North Dakota's 53 counties, now have burn bans. Minnesota has none.
Roy Schatschneider: “If they deem that conditions are too bad for burning outside, we're going to have to put a burning ban on.”
The Minnesota DNR reports two wildfires right now, and 44 for the year. All the blazes have scorched nearly 800 acres of land and it's only March.
Rob Kupec – StormTRACKER Meteorologist: “A lot of places there was no snow this winter so you have all that open ground, the vegetation has had a chance to dry out over the winter.”
Firefighters are keeping a watchful eye on the weather.
Rob Kupec: “Really the key is, some really low relative humidity air will be fairly dry. That's kind of making those plants out their more combustible.”
Much of the worry is from Jamestown west. Fire dangers are will only go up..
Rob Kupec: “And particularly tomorrow, dew points will be fairly low around the region and it will be breezy so those are two really kind of bad combinations.”
Roy Schatschneider: “We do get some areas that have some standing grass in those sloughs and ditches so that's the areas that we're concerned about.”
You are advised to take precautions. The one thing you can do is make sure to have dirt around a fire to help it from spreading. The fire danger will go down, likely this weekend as wind will bring more moisture. Even though temps will go up, so will dew points.