Parts of Minnesota are under a fire weather watch and an air quality alert Sunday, raising some outdoor risks over the holiday weekend.
The fire weather watch, for areas of northern and western Minnesota, lasts from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. It comes after a red flag warning was posted for northwestern Minnesota on Saturday, raising concerns about fires spreading quickly and out of control under the conditions, including low humidity and high wind.
The fire weather watch cites the combination of strong winds, low humidity and high temperatures to discourage any outdoor burning. It includes these counties: Becker, Beltrami, Big Stone, Cass, Chippewa, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lac Qui Parle, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Pope, Red Lake, Roseau, St Louis County, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wadena, Wilkin, and Yellow Medicine.
Also Sunday, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is raising air quality concerns because of ground level ozone for east central Minnesota, starting noon on Sunday and lasting until 8 p.m. Monday.
"Air quality is expected to reach the Orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups) AQI category across east central and southeast Minnesota," the MPCA said, because of sunny skies, warm temperatures and low humidity.
The area covered by the alert includes the Twin Cities metropolitan area, St. Cloud, Hinckley, Mankato, Albert Lea, Rochester, and the tribal nations of Prairie Island, Leech Lake, and Mille Lacs.
The weather worries are expected to lift by Tuesday, "when a weather system will move across the state and bring increased moisture, clouds, and scattered thunderstorms to eastern Minnesota."
Until then, Sunday is expected to be sunny, with temps warming into the low to mid-80s. Monday could be even warmer in the Twin Cities metro.