Northern Minnesota crews battling “rapidly growing” wildfire

Published 9:48 am Monday, August 16, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS — Fire crews in northeastern Minnesota were battling a “rapidly growing” wildfire Sunday, adding to a list of wildfires in the region that has prompted Gov. Tim Walz to authorize the National Guard to assist in firefighting efforts.

Superior National Forest officials estimated the wildfire at “several hundred acres” in size on Sunday and warned that it could spread quickly due to high winds and dry conditions, Minnesota Public Radio reported. The Forest Service said it has asked residents near McDougal Lake to prepare for an evacuation and cleared visitors from the area, but authorities have not yet ordered an evacuation. The wildfire was spotted around 3 p.m. Sunday about 15 miles southwest of Isabella.

The governor several hours later moved to send National Guard members to the region as fire dangers are expected to remain high over the next several days.

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“This summer, Minnesota has experienced abnormally high temperatures and a historic drought resulting in dry conditions conducive to wildfires,” Walz said in a statement.

Walz’s order cited another wildfire in the Beltrami Island State Forest “that is threatening life and property near Warroad.”

Meanwhile, Superior Forest Service is monitoring several other smaller fires in the area that were sparked in recent days.