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With leaves already changing, DNR launches Fall Color Finder early

The drought is having an impact on the foliage.
Fall colors on Oct. 6, 2019, in the Brainerd Lakes Area. 

Fall colors on Oct. 6, 2019, in the Brainerd Lakes Area. 

The Minnesota DNR's Fall Color Finder is back.

The Fall Color Finder map launched this week and will be updated weekly through October. The map shows the percentage of leaves at their peak color. 

The map shows 0-10% peak in northeastern Minnesota already, where wildfires are raging. Trees in the rest of the state haven't started to peak, according to the map, although some trees have started changing color across the state. 

The DNR launched the map earlier than normal this year because leaves have already started to turn due to the ongoing drought.

The vibrant reds, oranges and yellows that decorate Minnesota's landscape usually don't peak until mid-September to early October in most of northern Minnesota. In the Twin Cities and central Minnesota, it's typically in late September to mid-October.

But with things already changing, peak fall color is expected to happen earlier this year, Val Cervenka, the Minnesota DNR's forest health program coordinator, told Bring Me The News earlier this month. 

Related [Aug. 11]: Here's what the drought means for fall colors in Minnesota this year

The ongoing drought could also impact how brilliant the colors are but Cervenka says it's not going to just be a blanket of brown.

"A year like this, we can say 'There might be pockets of awesomeness but they might be fewer and not as obvious as they have been in your favorite leaf-peeping areas,'" Cervenka explained. 

Cervenka suggests getting out and exploring different areas of the state that you may not normally visit in the fall, and take advantage of the cooler fall weather after this long, hot summer.

For more on why the drought has an impact on fall colors, click here

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