A combination of gusty winds, record heat and continued dry conditions led to more than two-dozen wildfires reported across Minnesota on Wednesday.
The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center said it received reports of over 25 wildfires across the state, as temperatures soared to 76 degrees (in the Twin Cities), smashing state records for Nov. 2.
The worst-hit areas were in the central areas of Minnesota, which has experienced serious drought in recent months, with the Twin Cities metro among the regions affected.
There was a fire reported at the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area in Anoka County, forcing the closure of nearby roads as fire crews responded to the scene.
Wildland firefighters from the Minnesota DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were deployed, and water-dropping aircraft including the Airtanker Fire Boss were used to fight five blazes in central Minnesota.
A combination of strong winds, warm temperatures, and low humidity contributed to the "near-critical" fire conditions seen Wednesday. There should be some respite later on Thursday, with a cold front passing through the state, with rain expected between Thursday and Saturday.
“Along with the growing drought, the recent frost has left grasses and downed leaves extremely dry and highly susceptible to wildfire,” said Leanne Langeberg, Public Information Officer with the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center.
"Until we receive significant precipitation, in the form of rain or snow, fire danger is expected to remain high."
People are being asked to remain "extremely cautious" with outdoor activities that could produce heat or a spark.
BMTN Note: Weather events in isolation can't always be pinned on climate change, but the broader trend of increasingly severe weather and record-breaking extremes seen in Minnesota and across the globe can be attributed directly to the rapidly warming climate caused by human activity. The IPCC has warned that Earth is "firmly on track toward an unlivable world," and says greenhouse gas emissions must be halved by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5C, which would prevent the most catastrophic effects on humankind. You can read more here.