The largest wildfire in Minnesota has grown to nearly 5,000 acres and is expected to increase in size Friday as strong winds make firefighting efforts difficult.
The Greenwood Fire, located in Lake County and the Superior National Forest, blossomed into a 4,734-acre wildfire as of Thursday night, and the blaze is zero percent contained.
"Day and night shift fire crews continued structure protection on the west side within the Highway 2 corridor, McDougal and Stony River areas. There are no reports of structures lost," the U.S. Forest Service said Friday morning.
The focus Friday, with 20 mph winds fanning the flames, is to protect structures and clear brush from the edge of the fire. There are now 253 people fighting the wildfire, including three hand crews, 38 fire engines, 2 bulldozers, three tenders and three aircraft, in addition to other equipment and aircraft from agencies partnering with the forest service.
"We are expecting critical fire weather today with high winds ahead of a thunderstorm," the forest service said. "Hot and dry conditions will contribute to the potential for very active or extreme fire behavior this afternoon."
Storms are expected to move across Minnesota during the afternoon and evening hours, but the bulk of the heavy rain is forecast to remain west of the Greenwood Fire.
The forest service says the wildfire will continue to spread north and threaten structures and "critical power infrastructure" near County Road 2, Stony Lake, McDougal Lake and Highway 1.