UPDATE 7:15 P.M.
The fire has prompted closures of Highway 2 from Forest Highway 11 to Highway 1, and on Highway 1 from New Tomahawk Road to Lankinen Road.
"The fire behavior that we've been experiencing ... has been rather extreme," said Nick Petrak, of the U.S. Forest Service. "The most effective way for us to control these fires is with the utilization of aircraft."
A wildfire in northern Minnesota continues to spread remarkably quick, having more than doubled in size to at least 1,000 acres since first detected less than a day ago.
The Greenwood Fire, located about 15 miles southwest of Isabella, Minnesota, was initially detected around 3 p.m. Sunday. Originally estimated to be a few hundred acres, the blaze grew swiftly amid the dry, windy conditions in the area.
The fire is now thought to be at least 1,000 acres, the U.S. Forest Service said Monday afternoon, though its exact size isn't known. Fire crews are working to slow the blaze from the ground and the air. Meanwhile aircraft are being used to get a better sense of the fire's footprint, the agency said.
The agency doesn't expect it to slow down, citing continued southerly winds pushing the fire further north toward McDougal Lake. The campground and other recreational spots there have been evacuated by the Forest Service.
There are also reports of extensive ash and smoke along Highway 1.
The weather conditions are proving to be perfect fuel for wildfires, with the Forest Service expecting "near critical fire weather" through Monday evening at least. Humidity levels are very low, temps are in the 80s to near 90 and winds are gusting 20-25 mph. The NWS Duluth says hot and breezy conditions are expected to last through Thursday before a shot at rain arrives Friday.
Meanwhile, crews continue to battle at least 10 additional fires across northern Minnesota. That includes two other wildfires that broke out over the weekend between Warroad and Baudette.
Leanne Langberg of the Minnesota Incident Command System (MNICS) told Bring Me The News that the North Norris Fire was located Saturday within the Beltrami Island State Forest, about two miles north of the historic Norris Camp. It has burned around 80 acres and is 0 percent contained.
Aircraft and ground firefighting efforts are in progress as crews work to establish a control line around the fire.
On Sunday, the Square Fire developed in Lake of the Woods County, approximately three miles northwest of Graceton. It is burning in a black spruce bog and has so far charred about 60 acres.
The Forest Service Monday listed the following ongoing fires, most of them on the small side and with various levels of containment:
- Bunggee fire
- Fourtown Lake fire
- Sundial South fire
- Ole fire
- John Elk fire
- Whelp fire
- Pelt Lake fire
- Clara Island fire
- Tomlinson fire
- Homestead fire
Aircraft that are helping fight these fires can haul anywhere from 750-1,000 gallons of water.