As dry, windy weather continued across central, northern and western Minnesota, the National Weather Service on Saturday issued a red-flag warning for wildfires for many counties.
Fire crew responded Saturday afternoon to a five-acre fire northeast of Eveleth, Minn. A floatplane and two single-engine air tankers responded to fire, in addition to ground crews, according to Leanne Langeberg, public information officer with the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center.
A large grass fire north of Virginia, Minn., blackened 25 acres and led to an evacuation of homes in the area.
About noon, fire crews responded to the area of Hill and Haavisto roads in Sandy Township, where a large grass fire was spreading. Deputies evacuated the 7700-7900 blocks of both roads.
No structures were damaged and the danger was downgraded by late afternoon, when fire crews "made gains," according to the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office.
Brent Hewett, a forecaster at the NWS' regional office in Chanhassen, said that after a relatively dry fall and winter, the fire danger will stick around for a few weeks until there is more moisture in the air as plants and trees bloom and get greener.
The red-flag warning, which will remain in effect until 9 p.m. Saturday, includes Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, Carlton, Chippewa, Clay, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Itasca, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lac qui Parle, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Pope, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, Roseau, St. Louis, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wadena, Wilkin and Yellow Medicine counties.
No fires should be set in those counties except for controlled campfires, the NWS said, and areas where fires were set previously should be checked to make sure they are fully out.