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Fireworks a concern for Minnesota’s tinder dry conditions

July 3, 2021 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota’s tinder dry conditions has the Department of Natural Resources and others concerned about backyard Fourth of July fireworks.

About 11% of the state is experiencing severe drought conditions, with 82% in moderate drought and the rest experiencing abnormally dry conditions, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System.

“All of Minnesota is abnormally dry or in a stage of drought,” said Casey McCoy, DNR fire prevention supervisor. “With trees, grasses and shrubs dried out, it’s easy for a spark to quickly become a wildfire.”

Severe drought can be found in several counties along Minnesota’s southern border and the northwest region of the state. The dry conditions have already led to more wildfires than usual. Since March, more than 1,400 blazes have charred nearly 55 square miles (142 square kilometers) across the state, according to the DNR.

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Burning restrictions and a ban on fireworks are in place in some north-central Minnesota counties, including Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Morrison, Wadena, Todd and the southern portion of Beltrami, the Star Tribune reported.

The hot and dry weather will likely stick around through the rest of July, according to Todd Krause, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Chanhassen office.

“It’s not normal to be this dry. It’s been quite a few years since we’ve been in drought like this,” he said. “Having said that, we do get droughts every so often.”