Crews battle fast-growing wildfire in Minnesota


Photo: U.S. Forest Service-Superior National Forest

(NewsNation Now) — Crews are working to contain a rapidly growing wildfire in northeastern Minnesota.

The blaze is “several hundred acres” in size and was discovered on Sunday at about 3 p.m. on the Laurentian Ranger District, about 15 miles southwest of Isabella, Minnesota, according to the U.S. Forest Service-Superior National Forest.

“It is rapidly growing and spreading due to high winds and dry vegetation and has the potential to impact structures and recreation assets,” the Forest Service said in a statement.

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Wildfires in Minnesota are typically at their worst in the spring and fall, but the unusually hot summer has caused more than half of the state to experience drought conditions.

Gov. Tim Walz authorized the Minnesota National Guard to support the crews battling the blaze.

“The Minnesota National Guard’s additional support will be critical to responding to these wildfires and protecting the safety of Minnesotans and their property. I am proud that our Service Members have again answered the call to serve their fellow Minnesotans,” Walz said in a statement Sunday.

The John Elk fire near Little Saganaga Lake and the Whelp fire northwest of Sawbill Lake is also burning in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). The Forest Service says no crews have been sent in to fight either wildfire because of their remote locations and difficult access. Aircraft are doing water drops to suppress the flames. 

To ensure public safety, the Forest Service is closing all developed recreation around McDougal Lake on the Tofte Ranger District. The area was cleared of all visitors on Sunday.

Current sites impacted include:

  • McDougal Lake Campground
  • McDougal Lake Boat Ramp 
  • McDougal Lake Picnic Area 
  • McDougal Lake Trailhead and Trail

Residents in the Greenwood and McDougal Lake areas are encouraged to evacuate. At this time, there is no word about what caused the fire.

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