Lakes area not out of the woods for fire danger | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Lakes area not out of the woods for fire danger

Warmer, dry conditions with gusty winds Thursday mean increase in fire danger

Posted: September 19, 2012 - 10:30pm

A brief rain shower with tiny hail Wednesday may have seemed to dampen the fire danger in the lakes area, but it wasn’t enough to quench current dry conditions.

Rains in May and June, which caused widespread flooding concerns, were well above average. But the last two months went the other direction.

Mark Mortensen, Department of Natural Resources program forester, said the last two months were about 50 percent of the average rainfall.

Mortensen said with the sandy soils in the lakes region, “it doesn’t take very long to dry out and get ready to burn.”

Wednesday’s brief but hard rain shower was part of a system of scattered showers in the lakes area. Higher humidity had the fire danger relatively low. High temperatures were in the 50s, about 20 degrees cooler than normal.

But Thursday may prove to be a different story as warmer temperatures and low humidity — in the low to middle 20 percent range — combine with winds gusting up to 25-28 mph.

Thursday’s partly sunny skies are expected to warm things up to the low 60s.

A chance of showers continues, ranging from 30 to 40 percent, Thursday night through Saturday. Temperatures are anticipated to remain in the 50s with overnight lows above freezing.

The extended forecast calls for a return of dry, mild weather with sunny skies, clear nights and temperatures pushing 70 degrees.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz.