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Officials warn of 'near critical' fire conditions in northern Minnesota

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The National Weather Service of Duluth has declared a red flag warning for several counties in northern Minnesota due to conditions that could spread fires.

The NWS said that the warm and dry weather patterns that will continue this afternoon and evening are near critical fire weather conditions.

The area includes Cass County, Crow Wing County, south Aitkin County and Pine County and includes the cities of Walker, Pine River, Brainerd, Aitkin, Pine City and Hinckley.

They said that any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended. The warning is in effect until 8 p.m. tonight.

Foss Lake wildfire

The red flag warning comes after a recent prescribed burn near Ely jumped the containment line and grew to a fire that may have burned upwards of 500 to 1000 acres.

On Friday, multiple air tankers, helicopters and a U.S. Forest Service plan joined ground crews to fight the first until sunset.

A Temporary Flight Restriction went into effect before 5 p.m. yesterday.

Currently only one Boundary Waters access point is closed, and nearby towns are not at risk.

The area is still under in an extreme fire danger area, according to the DNR.

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