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Forecasters warn of 'near critical' wildfire risk in NWI, Chicagoland area

Forecasters warn of 'near critical' wildfire risk in NWI, Chicagoland area

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There is a high risk of wild fires Tuesday in parts of Northwest Indiana and the Greater Chicago area, the National Weather Service reported.

Fire dangers are likely due to a combination of dry air mass and breezy conditions, forecasters said. Southwest winds are expected to pick up speed later in the morning and peak early in the afternoon.

"Near critical" fire dangers were declared for Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton Counties in Indiana, and Cook, Will, DuPage and Kankakee counties and surrounding areas in Illinois.

"While much of the area will have a heightened threat for wildfires, it appears that areas roughly along and southeast of Interstate 55 will have the highest risk this afternoon," a NWS special weather statement reads.

The threat of wild fires is expected to drop quickly early Tuesday evening as winds ease late in the afternoon.

NWS urged the public to exercise extreme caution when dealing with open flames and disposing smoking materials, and to postpone any planned burning.

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