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After 1,000 acres burn, fire risk remains high Tuesday


Dry, windy conditions are keeping the fire danger high in western Minnesota and a grass fire in the Red River Valley had burned an estimated 1,000 acres by Monday evening, Valley News Live reports.

The station says the Clay County fire was burning in an area between Barnesville and Pelican Rapids, with a plume of smoke visible for more than 10 miles.

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The Fargo Forum reports an airplane from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources helped to fight the fire.

The National Weather Service had a red flag warning in effect for much of the region Monday.

Warnings continue

On Tuesday, a fire weather watch will be in effect for west central Minnesota.

The Weather Service says northwest winds blowing 20 to 30 mph combined with humidity levels as low as 15 to 20 percent are keeping the fire danger high.

Conditions are also extreme in North Dakota, where a grass fire was threatening a residential area south of Bismarck, the Forum reports.

An executive order that North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple had issued declaring a fire emergency was set to expire on Wednesday, but as KFGO reports, Dalrymple extended it through the end of April.

Moorhead city officials declared a ban on all outdoor burning Monday.

Four fires that burned in the Bemidji area over the weekend included one that destroyed a home in Fern Township.

Western Minnesota's fires come as needed rains have reduced the fire hazard in other parts of the state, including the Twin Cities.

The Pioneer Press reports Sunday's 0.65 inches of rain was the heaviest precipitation the metro area had seen in months, and fell barely short of the record for the date.

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Fire that burned 1,600 acres in Wadena County now contained

Some firefighters will stay at the site of the "Jeep Fire" to monitor hot spots. Authorities chose a nickname for the blaze to reflect their belief that it was started by a vehicle. The fire burned mostly grassland and forest but a few buildings were lost, including one home.