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Wildfire at state park in northern Minnesota closes campsites

The DNR said Thursday evening that the fire is 50% contained.

Two hike-in campsites at Scenic State Park in northern Minnesota have been closed while firefighters tackle a wildfire at the park.

The Minnesota DNR said Thursday evening that crews were responding to a 10-acre fire at the park around 3.5 miles southeast of Big Fork.

"The fire is burning in mature pine and brush in the remote northeast corner of the park and is 50 percent contained," it said, with the cause of the fire as-yet undetermined.

The outbreak of the fire has forced the closure of two hike-in backcountry campsites on Pine Lake, but the other backcountry sites at the park are still open, as are the campgrounds at Chase Point and the Lodge.

It comes at a time of serious wildfire risk in Minnesota after a period of weeks in which there has been little to no rain.

Moderate to severe drought conditions now cover more than 60% of Minnesota, and concerns are being raised about the low water levels in Minnesota rivers.

On Friday, a Red Flag Warning denoting critical weather conditions that are ideal for wildfires have been issued in numerous counties in Minnesota, which means no burning is allowed.

Counties with Red Flag warnings in place till 8 p.m. Friday are: Aitkin, Anoka, Benton, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Crow Wing, Douglas, Hennepin, Isanti, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Pope, Ramsey, Renville, Sherburne, St. Louis, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Washington, Wright and Yellow Medicine.

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