Crews battling wildfires in Minnesota, Wisconsin


At least 50 structures, including some homes or cabins, have been destroyed by wildfire in a wooded area of Wisconsin southeast of Duluth, the worst blaze the state has seen in at least eight years, the Duluth News Tribune reports. No injuries have been reported.

Wildland fire crews are also busy in Minnesota. MPR reports that Minnesota Interagency Fire Center officials say that the Green Valley Fire, reportedly 10 miles long, near Menahga, Minn., has prompted some evacuations, including the evacuation of a nursing home, and has damaged some structures in the area.

A water-scooping helicopter and several airplanes were aiding the fight with the Menahga fire, but their efforts were hampered by the fact that nearby lakes have ice on them, WCCO reported. Wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour fanned the flames, WCCO reported.

Crews were also tackling fires near Red Lake, Camp Ripley, Virginia, Salo, Sturgeon Lake, Hinckley, Wright and Atkinson, MPR reported. FOX 9 has photos and video of some of the blazes. People have also been evacuated near Park Rapids, WCCO reported.

Desert-like humidity were as low as 8 percent in parts of the state Tuesday, and temperatures soared to 100 degrees in other parts of Minnesota, MPR noted.

The blaze in Wisconsin has burned at least 6,800 acres, and both Wisconsin and Minnesota crews worked through the night fighting the fires in Wisconsin’s Douglas and Bayfield counties, the newspaper reported. WDIO reported Wednesday morning that a Wisconsin DNR official said the blaze had grown overnight to 8,700 acres. The fire was about 80 to 85 percent contained, Kevin Harter, a public affairs officer with the DNR, told WDIO Wednesday morning.

The damaged structures are in an area southeast of Solon Springs, Wis., roughly 40 miles southeast of Duluth, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported.

Mandatory evacuations were issued in Barnes Township, and residents were evacuated in the Rock Lake, Beauregard Lake, Loon Lake, Murray Lake, and Sandy Lake areas, WDIO reported. Evacuees were being directed to a local high school for an 8 a.m. update.

Roughly 100 people were not able to return home Tuesday night, Red Cross officials said, Northland's Newscenter reported.

The fire Tuesday night was roughly six miles long and about a mile wide, with the flames moving northeast, the station reported.

The blaze is already the worst Wisconsin has seen in years, double the size of the Cottonville Forest Fire that charred 3,410 acres and claimed 30 residences in 2005.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

WDIO has impressive video of the highway-jumping fire and massive smoke plumes:

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