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Minnesota's largest wildfire in 3 years exploded overnight and continues to burn Monday

The fire nearly doubled in size overnight because of strong winds.
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A wildfire burning in northwestern Minnesota exploded overnight and as of 11 a.m. Monday it had torched at least 4,000 acres of land.  

It's been called the "North County Road 7 Fire" and is burning in Roseau County near Juneberry Township, about 15 miles northwest of Greenbush.

"It's mostly in grass and brush so at this point we don't see any values or structures threatened," Christi Powers of the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center told BMTN.

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The wildfire started Sunday during warm and dry conditions, and strong winds helped it grow rapidly from 2,300 acres to 4,000 acres overnight.

"We sent some aircraft, had some crews on it – probably 20-30 people on the fire last night," Powers said. "It seemed to be tamping down, but with the winds picking up to the west it's grown to about 4,000 acres."

Fire crews are working full throttle to keep things under control, using a heli-tanker, three single-engine air tankers and a helicopter to help drop thousands of gallons of water and fire retardant on the blaze. 

More air support is standing by in Bemidji, Brainerd, Hibbing, Grand Rapids, Ely, Princeton and Warroad. 

Powers tells BMTN that it's the largest wildfire in Minnesota in the last three years. 

Nearly 200 acres burned in St. Cloud

The dry and windy conditions helped fuel a smaller grass fire in the St. Cloud area on Sunday, and it took fire crews from multiple departments seven hours to put it out. 

The St. Cloud Fire Department tells BMTN that 167 acres were torched in an area west of Hwy. 10 near the St. Cloud prison. 

"The problem came when it got into the tree lines," Fire Chief Dean Wrobbel said. "Old trees, those type of fuels, cutting down trees – that's when it took forever. 

"It burned fast and was hard to keep up with," Wrobbel added. 

Burning restrictions are in place across much of Minnesota again Monday. 

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