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Evacuations expand in northern Minnesota as Greenwood fire 'jumps' highway

The blaze had previously been constrained to an area east of Highway 2.

Evacuations are underway following a troubling development in the 4,000-plus acre Greenwood Fire in northern Minnesota.

The blaze had previously been constrained to an area east of Highway 2 near Stony Lake. But at 2 p.m. Friday, the fire jumped to the west side of the highway, the U.S. Forest Service said.

This development triggered evacuations for the Sand Lake and Stony Lake areas, with the Lake County Sheriff's Office on site to help residents get out.

The Forest Service says fire crews and aircraft are responding.

Earlier Friday, officials said the fire — first detected Sunday — had grown to approximately 4,734 acres and was still 0% contained.  They expected it to swell further throughout the day due to "critical fire weather," including high winds and hot, dry conditions ahead of a storm, though had projected it to move north as they continued to work along the western edge.

The MNICS fire map as of Friday morning.

The MNICS fire map as of Friday morning.

Officials have warned the fire threatens structures and "critical power infrastructure" near County Road 2, Stony Lake, McDougal Lake and Highway 1. 

A total of 253 personnel are currently responding.

The fire, believed to be caused by lightning, started about 15 miles southwest of Isabella. but has moved quickly. It had been bordered by County Highway 2 and the Sand Lake area to the west, with Greenwood Lake on the south end and McDougal Lake and Highway 1 up to the north.

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