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CLOQUET - The lack of snow and rain this winter could be setting the Northland up for a fiery spring.
Even though last summer's historic flood deposited early 10 inches, the rainwater dried up and shut off mid-summer.
"We're set up right now for what will most likely be a higher than normal fire season this spring," said Dan Grindy with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
With mounds of snow still on the ground, it's hard to believe the Northland is facing moderate to extreme drought.
"This recent snowfall helped, I mean it's nice we'll take what we can get," said Grindy. "But because the grounds frozen when the snow melts most of it will run off and not get into the soil moisture."
The lack of moisture could mean a lot more than 100 wildfires this spring.
"We might see more intense fires earlier in the spring as opposed to just the surface grass burning, we'll get some of the heavier fields," said Grindy.
At the Cloquet hockey rink, firefighters are already starting to train for those potential wildfires.
"We get them ready now so once the snows gone we're ready to hit the ground running," Minnesota DNR Fire Response Lead Joseph Frenz said.
The seasonal firefighters must complete a three mile walk with a 45 pound pack on.
"Make sure the firefighters I'm working with that I can count on them to be right behind me or in front of me every day while we're right there on the fire line," said Frenz.
With more than 90 percent of the state in moderate to extreme drought and the Northland almost 10 inches below normal precipitation, these smoke chasers are crucial.
"We're going into a season here that's probably going to start off with a big bang," said Frenz. "We need some rain this spring and it doesn't really sound like we're gonna get a lot of it."
Wisconsin is also pretty dry this winter.
The northwest half of the state is facing a severe drought.