BEMIDJI -- While northern Minnesota is known for its notoriously frigid winters and below zero conditions, Beltrami County could see a heatwave that makes temperatures soar to the opposite end of the thermometer this weekend.

The National Weather Service forecast, as of Thursday afternoon, calls for scorchers on both Friday and Saturday with temperatures reaching well into the 90s -- and possibly even the upper 90s. Sunday will be only slightly cooler with temperatures in the high 80s. Typically, Bemidji sees averages in the 60s and 70s this time of year.

“This coming weekend Beltrami County could experience the warmest temperatures we have seen in many years,” the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

Although it's just the beginning of June, heat more representative of mid-July has been scorching parts of the West over the last couple of days, and AccuWeather meteorologists predict that the hot weather will continue to grow in coverage and become more intense by the end of this week.

"Record-challenging heat is expected to build across the northern Plains this week as high pressure expands over the region," AccuWeather Meteorologist Jessica Storm said in a release. "Temperatures will rise 10-25 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in some places for the first time all year.”

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Heat related ailments such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke are more likely in extreme heat and humidity. With heat indexes of 100+ possible this weekend in Bemidji, it’s important for people to keep themselves and their pets hydrated when participating in outdoor activities.

In addition, people should check in with elderly family members, friends and neighbors, as they are at an increased risk for heat-related illnesses.

“For Minnesota standards, it's gonna be ‘uffda’ hot this weekend,” Christopher Muller, Beltrami County Emergency Services director, said in a release.

Tips to avoid heat related illness and injury from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Drink more non-alcoholic fluids, such as water.

  • Stay in air conditioning when possible.

  • Never leave anyone, including pets, in vehicles on hot days.

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose fitting clothing.

  • Check on the elderly and those who are homebound.

  • Avoid vigorous outdoor activity during high heat and humidity.

  • If you do not have relief from the heat, visit air conditioned public places or shopping centers.

Fire prevention

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also cautions residents and visitors to be aware of elevated fire conditions through this weekend. An unintentional spark in the hot, gusty and abnormally dry conditions could ignite a wildfire, a release said.

Minnesota’s wildland fire management agencies report 1,259 wildland fires have burned more than 34,000 acres since the beginning of March. Due to dry conditions, wildfire response crews have reported more extreme wildfire behavior than is typical for this time of year.

Despite the green-up of vegetation, many areas in northern Minnesota are 2-3 inches below average for spring rainfall. This shortfall has dried out trees, shrubs and grasses in the region, and when combined with forecast conditions, will result in an increased risk for wildfires, Casey McCoy, DNR wildlife prevention supervisor, said in the release.

“Be extra cautious with campfires and any outdoor activities that could produce heat or a spark as you enjoy the summer weekend,” McCoy said. “Don’t be fooled just because things look green. This is a dangerous time for wildfires."

The National Weather Service issued a Fire Weather Watch for Friday, June 4, covering much of central, northern and western Minnesota including Beltrami and surrounding counties. The fire danger the area is also considered very high according to the DNR on Thursday. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)
The National Weather Service issued a Fire Weather Watch for Friday, June 4, covering much of central, northern and western Minnesota including Beltrami and surrounding counties. The fire danger the area is also considered very high according to the DNR on Thursday. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

Before heading out, be sure to check current fire danger conditions online at the DNR’s statewide fire danger and burning restrictions map. If you do see a wildfire, call 911.

Other fire prevention reminders from the Minnesota DNR include:

  • When enjoying a campfire, keep a hose or water nearby.

  • After a campfire, drown-stir-repeat until it is out cold.

  • If a campfire is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.

  • Remember, fireworks are not allowed in state forests, state parks or any other state lands.