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Hot And Dry Weather Brings Risks, Rewards

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – With 90s in the forecast for Tuesday, Minnesotans are experiencing summer-like weather in September.

It’s usually among our most rare months for grassfires, but firefighters battled one in Maplewood Monday afternoon. And a 400-acre fire is currently burning north of Bemidji.

The DNR says most of Minnesota is under extreme fire danger through Tuesday night. If we hit 90 degrees Tuesday, it will be the 31st time this year.

And our lawns are showing it.

Tim Price and his nephew have been coming every week to Lake Harriet to enjoy the almost 90 degree days a summer has seen in more than a decade.

Price says Monday’s mid-September trip to the lake as living on borrowed time.

“It’s definitely good to make it count,” Price said.

WCCO’s chief meteorologist Chris Shaffer says while this stretch might seem ideal for playing outside, it’s also making for ideal drought conditions.

“About 63 percent of the state is what they call abnormally dry, at the moment,” Shaffer said.

And it seems like things are getting dryer and dryer. More than a quarter of the state is dealing with severe and extreme drought. Add that to Monday’s 20 percent relative humidity, and wind gusts reaching up to 40 miles per hour.

“The danger is if a fire starts, obviously it spreads rapidly,” Shaffer said.

That’s why red flag fire danger warnings are issued for much of the state. You likely don’t have to look farther than your front lawn to see that summer in September is taking its toll.

“I have a sprinkler system, but it’s not been able to keep up with the lack of water,” Price said.

But it’s not too late to water your grass, bushes and shrubs. While it likely won’t make them green again this year, it will help recharge the soil for next year.

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