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Fridley under Red Flag Fire Warning

Wind, heat and low humidity let flames spread more rapidly.

A Red Flag Warning for Fridley and much of Minnesota means the danger of a fire spreading quickly is high.

Fridley has an advantage over areas further from the urban core, according to Fridley Fire Chief John Berg. But residents should still exercise care, he said in an email Monday:

The best advice for today is don’t burn outside. Mainly because of the wind and potential for creating a nuisance (smoke). Other than the Nature Center and a few small areas like the railroad, there is very little in terms of wild land and potential for fires to spread.

Fridley firefighters, however, have to be on watch, Berg said:

The danger for the Fire Department is very real. The wind could have an adverse effect on any fire we might have. A good example is the fire at 6736 7th Street a couple of weeks ago where we had sustained winds out of the NW at 12 mph gusting to 23 mph. The wind fed the fire causing it to grow rapidly and pushed it into the attic space and living area of the house. A strong wind will also affect how firefighters have to approach a fire in a structure. We don’t want crews in front of a wind driven fire.

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Here's what the National Weather Service says about its Red Flag Warnings:

A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW...OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS...LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.

The conditions the NWS expects:

* WINDS...SOUTH 20 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.
* TIMING...THIS AFTERNOON INTO THIS EVENING...AND THEN AGAIN TUESDAY INTO TUESDAY EVENING.
* RELATIVE HUMIDITY...AS LOW AS 20 PERCENT.
* TEMPERATURES...HIGHS TODAY FROM 80 TO 85. HIGHS TUESDAY 88 TO 93.
* IMPACTS...FIRES COULD GROW QUICKLY AND BECOME FAST MOVING DUE TO THE GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY.

And their more detailed forecast:

STRONG SOUTHERLY WINDS...GUSTING TO 35 TO 40 MPH...WILL DEVELOP ACROSS SOUTHERN MINNESOTA TODAY AS HIGH PRESSURE RETREATS TO THE EAST AND A COLD FRONT ADVANCES THROUGH THE DAKOTAS. TEMPERATURES THIS AFTERNOON WILL WARM INTO THE 80S...WITH MINIMUM RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES DROPPING TO NEAR 20 PERCENT. THE COMBINATION OF DRY FUELS...STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY...WILL RESULT IN
DANGEROUS WILDFIRE CONDITIONS. A RED FLAG WARNING NOW IS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF CENTRAL INTO SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA FOR THE REST OF THE TODAY THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING.

THERE WILL BE A BRIEF BREAK IN THE FIRE DANGER TONIGHT INTO EARLY TUESDAY AS WINDS DECREASE AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY INCREASES. HOWEVER...DANGEROUS FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL REDEVELOP ON TUESDAY ACROSS MOST OF SOUTHERN MINNESOTA. TEMPERATURES WILL RISE
INTO THE UPPER 80S TO LOWER 90S UNDER THE CONTINUED INFLUENCE OF STRONG SOUTHERLY WINDS. MINIMUM RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES WILL REACH NEAR 20 PERCENT ONCE AGAIN...RESULTING IN HIGH FIRE DANGER CONDITIONS.

A COLD FRONT IS EXPECTED TO ENTER WESTERN MINNESOTA TUESDAY AFTERNOON. THE ARRIVAL OF THE FRONT AND DECREASING WINDS COULD REDUCE THE FIRE DANGER ACROSS WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA EARLY TUESDAY AFTERNOON.

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